The reliever market is starting to take shape at the Winter Meetings and Wade Davis is still believed to be in play for the Chicago Cubs, as Bruce Levine just discussed on 670 the Score. And he got quite a bit more specific than that.
In an interview with the Spiegel and Parkins Show, Levine said he doesn’t believe there is a four or five-year deal out there for Davis, even after a 32-save season for the Cubs in 2017. Levine added that a three-year deal, or even a two-year pact with a vesting option(???) seems more likely, and ventured to call it a “perfect fit.”
“I would encourage people to keep their eyes on Davis and the Cubs,” Levine said.
It would be extremely shocking to see Davis wind up with only a two-year deal (don’t bet on that), but the underlying message in Levine’s comments were quite clear, and that quote right there really underscores it. Watch this closely.
While the Cubs don’t seem keen on handing out long-term contracts to relievers, President Theo Epstein said the team would “definitely talk to [Davis]” in free agency. Back in November when Jon Heyman was trying to get a feel for the free agent landscape, he and the expert he spoke with expected believed Davis would get a four-year contract with the dollar amount ranging from $64 million to $72 million. Heyman and his expert weren’t alone, as MLB Trade Rumors’ prediction piece had Davis landing a four-year deal with the Astros.
The Cubs officially signed Brandon Morrow to be a part of the bullpen mix, but there are a few moves to be made before that group is settled. Apparently, retaining Davis and re-inserting him into the closer’s role is an option that is still on the table. That always made sense if his market wasn’t ridiculous, and maybe given all the other setup options out there, it has played out that way.
Davis, 32, bounced back to full health with the Cubs in 2017, and posted an excellent 2.30 ERA, while not blowing a save until the very end of the season. Some of his peripherals were dicey (a second straight season seeing his walk rate climb was the big one, reaching 11.6%), but the stuff was still dominant.
With the rest of the reliever market moving quickly, including the other top tier closer on the market, Greg Holland, reportedly close to re-upping with the Rockies, the timing here makes some sense.
As a qualified free agent, Davis would net the Cubs a pick after the second round if he signs elsewhere. If he re-signs the Cubs, they don’t give up a pick – they just don’t get the benefit of that added pick.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.