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Should the Cubs take a chance on Oliver Drake?

The righthander was waived... again.

Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

“Well-traveled” doesn’t even begin to describe the odyssey of righthanded reliever Oliver Drake.

First, he was a 43rd-round draft pick by Baltimore in 2008. That’s a round that no longer exists; the draft today is only 40 rounds. Very few guys selected that low make the big leagues. Further, Drake was selected out of the U.S. Naval Academy. Just one other player — Mitch Harris, who pitched briefly for the Cardinals in 2015 — has come from Annapolis to the big leagues in the last 98 years.

Drake made his debut for the Orioles in 2015 and pitched for them again in 2016. Then he was traded to the Brewers and made 72 appearances for them in 2017 and 2018.

The rest of Drake’s 2018 has been, well, interesting:

Drake set a dubious major-league record in 2018, becoming the first player ever to play for five teams in one season (Brewers, Indians, Angels, Blue Jays, Twins).

The Jays acquired former Cub Clayton Richard from the Padres Sunday, and designated Drake for assignment to make room on their 40-man roster.

Which brings me to the headline of this article. Is this a guy the Cubs should consider? He’s 31 and has posted a grand total of 0.1 bWAR (1.4 fWAR) in four big-league seasons. On the other hand, MLB Trade Rumors points out that his peripherals aren’t bad:

Over 137 1/3 major league innings, including 47 2/3 last season, Drake has offered signs of encouragement. While Drake does own a below-average ERA (4.59), he has notched 9.9 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9, generated ground balls at a 47.3 percent clip and recorded a 3.48 FIP/3.63 xFIP. And Drake has been dominant at the Triple-A level, where he has posted a 1.80 ERA with 12.7 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 across 110 innings. Perhaps yet another major league team will take a chance on him via waivers, then.

Hey, it’s a pretty slow week. Why not talk about this? Drake sounds like a guy who might work well on the Iowa Shuttle. His velocities are decent. What do you think?


Should the Cubs claim Oliver Drake on waivers?

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