Ready to Smyl? The Cubs just reportedly added 28 year old lefty starter, Drew Smyly, to a 2 year/$10 million deal, with up to $7 million in incentives. Smyly, a former Ray, which fits well with Maddon and new pitching coach Hickey, didn’t pitch in 2017 after having Tommy John surgery, and is expected to return sometime during the season in 2018.
This is exactly the type of deal we’ve come to expect out of Theo over the last few years: a starter coming off an injury, looking for a second chance. It is a low risk, potentially high reward situation, with only $10 million dollars at stake over 2 years. It makes a ton of sense for this team, and Smyly could rebound nicely from his injury and be a solid pitcher, like he was before he got hurt.
In 2016, he struggled a bit, putting up a 4.88 ERA in 30 starts, with a FIP of 4.49 and a WHIP of 1.27. Over his career, he has put up a K/9 rate of 8.71 and a BB/9 of just 2.54, both of which are pretty good. Smyly has also pitched out of the bullpen in his career, so if he struggles in the rotation or has injury issues, there could easily be spot in the pen for him. He is still quite young, and could easily bounce back from Tommy John, as we’ve seen many, many pitchers do in the past. I could see this deal working out well for the Cubs.
My guess is this takes the Cubs out of the running for Cobb. From what I’ve been hearing, his price tag has been going up and up, and that doesn’t bode well for a pitcher with an injury history. I would think the Cubs make move to sign a starter in a similar situation to Smyly, but ready to go for the start of the year, which has been the team’s M.O. over the past several years. Theo tends to bring in these veterans with injury problems, rehabilitate them, and turn them into viable starters. And the deals are usually small, so if it doesn’t work out it’s not like the team’s payroll takes a big hit. I’d look for Theo and Co to sign another starter coming off an injury like this to a small deal, but not anything in the neighborhood of Cobb, let alone Arrieta.
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