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Cubs free agent target: Phil Maton

Here’s a righthander who could be a useful setup man.

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

In searching for bullpen help, the Cubs don’t just need guys who could be possible closers or eighth-inning men.

They could also use some good middle relief, something that was definitely missing from the team in 2023. I’m going to try to identify some of those guys in the coming days, whether there has been any discussion of them coming to the Cubs or not.

Phil Maton was a solid middle relief type for the Astros in 2023. In 68 games (66 innings) he posted a 3.00 ERA and 1.121 WHIP. His strikeout (10.1 per nine innings) and walk (3.4 per nine innings) ratios were good, and he generally kept the ball in the ballpark, allowing just six home runs. All that was good for 1.1. bWAR, which would be perfectly suitable for (say) a sixth-inning guy, which the Cubs could use.

His pitch chart from 2023 shows he relies mostly on offspeed pitches, primarily a curve and sweeper:

Statcast

Maton also has 20 games’ worth of postseason experience, including five appearances in the 2021 World Series. In those postseason games he’s been excellent: 0.83 ERA, 0.738 WHIP, just five walks and 22 strikeouts in 21⅓ innings.

Signing a guy like this wouldn’t be a “sexy” signing, but if Phil Maton had been on the 2023 Cubs, maybe they avoid blowing some of those September leads.

Maton turns 31 in March. Would he take a two-year, $12 million deal? He made $2.550 million in 2023.

Poll

Phil Maton...

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    ... the Cubs should sign him to a deal like the one noted in the article
    (250 votes)
  • 35%
    ... the Cubs should sign him, but to a different deal in years or dollars or both
    (172 votes)
  • 13%
    ... the Cubs should not sign him
    (65 votes)
  • 0%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (3 votes)
490 votes total Vote Now