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Should the Cubs re-sign Tyler Chatwood?

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Next in a series on Cubs free agents.

A familiar 2020 sight for Tyler Chatwood — leaving the field with team trainer PJ Mainville
Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Ah, what could have been.

The Cubs signed Tyler Chatwood to a three-year, $38 million contract before the 2018 season. He’d been reasonably good away from Coors Field, his previous home park, and the thought was that he could continue that with Wrigley Field as his home.

Nope, nope and nope. Chatwood was pretty much the worst pitcher in the major leagues in 2018. He led the major leagues in walks with 95 and the pitcher who was second, Lucas Giolito (and there’s a huge career turnaround for you), with 90, threw 70 more innings than Chatwood did.

It got so bad that Joe Maddon and the coaching staff finally benched him; he didn’t pitch at all after September 8.

In 2019, though, Chatwood seemed to really take to a long-relief/spot-starter role. He had an outstanding six-inning start April 21 against the Diamondbacks, and threw four innings with seven strikeouts in a 15-inning win over the Brewers May 11. Even a couple of bad six-run outings couldn’t ruin a 1.5 bWAR season, which was perfectly fine, although not worth $12.5 million.

Chatwood began 2020 in the rotation and made two very good starts before getting pounded by the Royals August 6. Turned out he was injured; he missed almost three weeks with what was called a “mid-back strain.” Coming back, he had to depart a start against the Tigers early and in his subsequent outing against the Reds, he again left early (pictured above) and wound up on the IL for the rest of the season with a right forearm strain.

It’s really too bad that Chatwood got hurt in 2020; he did actually seem as if he had turned the corner on all the walks. He can dial it up to 98 miles per hour — it’s just that he doesn’t always know where the pitch is going. I have had the thought that if he could get into the mindset of a one-inning reliever, he might be a decent setup man or even closer. But the Cubs never thought to try him in that role.

Re-sign him? Not for any sort of large amount of money, and I doubt he’s getting that anywhere else. If he’s healthy, I wouldn’t be unhappy if the Cubs signed him to a minor-league deal and did try him in that one-inning role. Otherwise, though, I think this signing has to go down as one of the worst of Theo Epstein’s regime, especially when they could have signed Miles Mikolas, just around the same time, for a lot less money.

Poll

Should the Cubs re-sign Tyler Chatwood?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Yes
    (68 votes)
  • 40%
    Yes, but only to a minor-league deal
    (222 votes)
  • 46%
    No
    (253 votes)
543 votes total Vote Now