The Cubs added to their pitching depth tonight with a two-year deal with left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly. The deal is expected to be worth $10 million total with performance bonuses that add up to another $7 million.
Smyly is familiar to Cubs manager Joe Maddon as he pitched for Maddon and the Rays in 2014, after being traded from Detroit as part of the David Price deal. He pitched the next 2½ years in Tampa Bay, finishing with an overall record of 15-15 with a 3.95 ERA over 30 starts. Smyly was traded to Seattle last offseason, but he never actually pitched for the Mariners as he experienced elbow troubles that ended up in Smyly undergoing Tommy John surgery last June. The Mariners non-tendered him rather than offer him arbitration coming off surgery.
Smyly is a pitcher who has always had a lot of promise. He was quite good with the Tigers and Rays in 2014, but he missed much of 2015 with arm issues and was clearly not the same pitcher in 2016. But his peripheral numbers have usually been good and over his career, he’s struck out 8.7 batters per nine innings while walking just 2.5 per nine. The Cubs are counting on him bouncing back from Tommy John surgery and providing depth down the stretch next season.
Smyly is not expected to return to pitching until mid-season in 2018 at the earliest. So he’s more depth for next season and a possible rotation piece in 2019.
The Cubs also announced that they have finalized the deal for reliever Brandon Morrow.
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