Three big-name closers are on the free-agent market this winter: Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon. Based both on internet chatter and the fact that lefty setup man Brett Cecil just signed a four-year, $30 million deal with the Cardinals, those three closers could get deals worth close to nine figures.
To me, that seems too much for a closer, even those three, who have been pretty much lockdown most of their careers.
The Cubs could give the job back to Hector Rondon, who did pretty well at it until he got hurt halfway through last year. Seems to me he might have been injured even before the Cubs traded for Chapman, and he certainly wasn’t right even after he returned from the disabled list.
They could also try Carl Edwards Jr. in the role. Edwards throws hard and seems to have the right mindset for it. But maybe management thinks they don’t want to put a mostly-untested pitcher in that role for the defending World Series champions.
Which brings me to the subject of this post, Wade Davis of the Royals. If the Cubs want to try another short-term fix (as Chapman was), why not Davis?
Here’s a pitcher with significant postseason experience, including a save in Game 4 of the Royals’ World Series win over the Mets in 2015. He had a fine year in 2016, though his walk rate was up a bit and strikeout rate down a bit from 2015. Still, he posted 27 saves with just three blown saves, even while spending time on the DL (twice) with what was described as a “forearm strain.” In September, after returning to action, Davis posted six saves with one blown save, a 2.79 ERA and 1.241 WHIP in 10 appearances.
Davis is signed through 2017. He’ll make $10 million next season and then be a free agent, so he could be a good short-term fix while the Cubs figure out what to do with this role for the long term. He’s also quite familiar to Joe Maddon, for whom he pitched for four years (2009-12) in Tampa — as a starter, mostly, two full years in the Rays rotation before being converted to relief in 2012.
Again, and I know I’ve suggested this before, Jorge Soler could be a good starting point for trade talks for Davis (it would likely take a prospect or two, in addition to that). Soler seems a better fit as a DH than in anyone’s outfield, and Kendrys Morales, the Royals’ regular DH in 2016, has moved on, signing with the Blue Jays. So Kansas City could be looking to fill that hole by trade.
What do you think of taking a chance on Wade Davis for 2017?