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The Cubs have amassed an impressive display of talent through astute drafting, good trades and a spotty record in free agents signings. But what about the guys that got away during the process. Here are a look at ten former Cubs and what they’re up to now.
Jake Arrieta: This one hurts the most. Though Jake isn’t the Jake of 2015 or the first half of 2016, he’d still look better in the Cubs rotation than Yu Darvish or Tyler Chatwood. Jake currently has a record of 6-6 with an ERA of 3.47 for the Phillies. His strikeouts are down to 6.5 per 9 innings, though the rest of his peripheral stats are good. I think both Jake and the Cubs would like to have a do over on their contract negotiations.
Wade Davis: Wade is 25-29 in save opportunities for the Rockies. His strikeout rate is also down. Wade was dominant in the first half of the 2017 season, but less so in the second half of the season. While Davis is having a nice season, I’d take Morrow over Davis as a closer.
Dexter Fowler: Dexter was a key component on the Cubs championship, but things have not gone well for Dexter in his time with the Cardinals. In 2017, Dexter’s first year with year with the Cards, he put up a WAR of 1.6. His OPS was fine at .851, but he was killed by defensive metrics. This year his production has fallen off a cliff. His OPS sits at .541 and his WAR is at -1.4. He has also been singled out for a lack of effort. I liked Dexter but I would see him seem lackadaisical on balls that got by him when he was with the Cubs. I don’t know if that is what happened in St. Louis, but if you have an OPS of .541, you can’t give even the impression of lack of effort. I liked Dexter, but it was time for Albert Almora to get a shot.
Hector Rondon: Hector had some nice years both as the Cubs closer and setup guy. Hector is currently doing some good work for the Astros. His strikeout rate was over 10 per 9 innings with the Cubs but has risen to over 11 with the Astros. The biggest improvement for Rondon is a reduction of home runs allowed. His rate with the Cubs was 1.4 per 9 innings in 2016 and 1.6 in 2017. Currently it sits at 0.3 for the Astros. That’s more in line with his best years with the Cubs. Hector is good, but I’d still take Steve Cishek over him.
Jeff Samardzija: Remember when there was discussion as to whether he would ever become an ace or at least a number two starter? Well, that ship has sailed. Since Jeff was traded from the Cubs, he put a nice season in 2016 when he went 12-11 with an ERA of 3.81. He did lead the NL in innings pitched in 2017 with 207.2. All things considered, I’d rather have Addison Russell, whom the Cubs acquired in a trade for Samardzija.
Jorge Soler: Jorge showed flashes of promise during his stay with the Cubs before being shipped to the Royals for a year of Wade Davis. After hitting .144 in an injury marred 2017, Jorge is hitting .265 with 9 home runs in 2018. It seems that Jorge won’t reach the heights he was projected to reach. Under the circumstances, a year of Wade Davis looks like a pretty good haul for Soler.
Jason Hammel: Jason had a couple of nice seasons with the Cubs before being granted free agency by the Cubs after the 2016 season and subsequently signing with the Royals. His mark with the Royals is 10-24 with an ERA of 5.60. The Cubs need help in their rotation, but Jason isn’t missed.
Adam Warren: Adam must hate the Cubs or Chicago. The Cubs traded for him in the Starlin Castro transaction. He was lit up while with the Cubs to the tune of an ERA of 5.91. He also gave up 1.8 homers per 9 innings. He went back to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman trade and became a decent pitcher once again. In seven seasons with the Yankees, he’s put up an ERA of 3.15. And he’s been consistent. Though he’s not a bad pitcher, he’s not really missed by the Cubs.
Jeimer Candelario: Jeimer was one of the last high profile or a least semi-high profile prospects in the Cubs organization. He was in the package the Cubs sent to the Tigers for Justin Wilson. Despite hitting .228 this season, Candelario has decent power and is playing respectable third base for Detroit. His WAR is at 1.5. Justin Wilson for Jeimer seems like a fair exchange.
Dan Vogelbach: In a sneaky good deal by the Cubs, they sent Dan Vogelbach to the Mariners for Mike Montgomery. In 102 at bats for the Mariners, Vogelbach has put up an OPS of 5.95. Meanwhile, Montgomery recorded the last out of the 2016 World Series and is a key man on the Cubs pitching staff. Great move, Theo and Jed, or whoever got it done.
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