Cubs Wrap Up Their Options Decisions By Declining David Phelps' Option, 40-Man at 31

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Cubs Wrap Up Their Options Decisions By Declining David Phelps’ Option, 40-Man at 31

Chicago Cubs

Another “as expected” options decision is in the books for the Cubs, according to Jesse Rogers, and it’s reliever David Phelps hitting the open market after his $5 million option was declined.

Now recovered from Tommy John surgery, Phelps could be a useful reliever in 2020 for the Cubs (or another team), but he’s highly unlikely to see a contract in the $5 million range coming off his injury-shortened, modest-results year.

Phelps, 33, posted a very nice 3.41 ERA over his 34.1 innings split between the Cubs and Blue Jays, but his walk rate was an unsightly 11.5%, and his 24.5% K rate was not high enough to offset it. He did a decent job managing hard contact, but his groundball rate was down from where he was pre-surgery. Velocity, too, was down below his pre-surgery level, though he was getting kinda close by the end of the year (sat 95 mph before surgery as a reliever, reached about 93.5 mph on average in the final months of the season).

On the whole, he’s a guy you’d be fine bringing back in your bullpen on a cheap one-year deal, but $5 million is too much, even if money wasn’t tight.

As for the Cubs, that settles all their options decisions: Rizzo and Quintana picked up, Phelps, Morrow, Holland, Graveman, Barnette declined.

The 40-man roster sits at 31, leaving the Cubs plenty of room for offseason maneuvering (including possibly adding a minor league guy or two today – Colin Rea? Allen Webster? Jhonny Pereda? – so they don’t become minor league free agents).

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.