The Cubs latest free agent signing is going to require some patience.
The Cubs agreed to a 2 year, $10M deal with free agent LHP Drew Smyly who will likely miss the 2018 season recovering from Tommy John Surgery this past June. Smyly will be paid $3M in 2018 and $7M in 2019 when he is expected to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. Smyly's deal also includes up to an additional $6M in incentives for 2019 based on him being a starter.
Which makes this signing even more interesting given that the team is believed to be adding two starting pitchers this offseason which wouldn't seem to leave an obvious spot in the rotation for Smyly in 2019. But as we've seen, there is no such thing as too much rotation in the depth. Smyly could also fill the left-handed swing role we've seen in recent years from Mike Montgomery and Shirtless Travis Wood.
The 28 year-old Smyly was traded from the Rays to the Mariners in January but never threw a pitch for Seattle. Smyly pitched for Tampa from 2014-2016 which obviously means he is familiar to both Joe Maddon and new pitching coach Jim Hickey.
His career numbers are solid, posting a 3.74 ERA with an 8.7 K/9 and 3.43 K/BB rate in 570 1/3 career innings with the Tigers and Rays. But Smyly was very good in 2016 with a career-high 175.1 IP and an excellent 2.52 BB/9 rate for the Rays.
Based on normal recovery time for TJS, Smyly could conceivably pitch for the Cubs in the second half this season, most likely out of the bullpen. But this move was largely made with 2019 in mind, so it could require a little bit of patience from Cubs fans.
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