Cubs sign Drew Smyly and other notes from Winter Meetings

The Cubs remain active at the MLB winter meetings in Orlando this week,signing LHP Drew Smyly to a two-year contract. The Cubs also made the Brandon Morrow signing official, a two-year deal with  a club option for the 2020 season.

Smyly, 28, underwent Tommy John surgery last summer and multiple reports are saying he will miss most if not all of 2018 rehabbing. His contract details are two-years, $10 million and the potential to earn up to $7M in performance bonuses. He pitched for  Joe Maddon and Jim  Hickey in Tampa Bay.

This deal brings a low risk, high reward possibility. While there is a very good chance we do not see Smyly in ’18, he should be all good to go for ’19 and could sneak into the rotation. In 30 games started last year with the Rays, the left-hander finished 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA.

We signed this guy? Do not be so quick to judge. The Rays finished in the bottom five of the league last season in runs. The past experience with Maddon and Hickey is why this move was made. And I think we have come to believe in whatever Theo Epstein does.

As previously stated, Morrow’s deal is official. The money involved has not been released as of Tuesday night. Morrow wanted to go back to the Dodgers but it was not going to work out. The Cubs bring in a solid set-up man and could see some save opportunities. There is no clear role yet considering the Cubs are still in pursuit of bringing back Wade Davis.

Davis, who just one blow save in 2017, is someone the Cubs or the fans do not want to see go. It was understandable letting Chapman walk considering he won a World Series and his price tag was going to be very high. With Davis, he is not going to return for $10M which the Cubs paid him last year. Also, players want stability and it’s still unclear if the Cubs want to lock him up long-term considering he is 32.

The Cubs are still in pursuit of Alex Cobb and have had discussions with the Rays about Chris Archer. It has become obvious Epstien and Jed Hoyer are making pitching their top priority and fans should be on board with it. Jake Arrieta is not returning the Cubs and you lose a lot with him gone. Hector Rondon has been dismissed and even through the tough times, there is production you have to replace. John Lackey’s departure leaves a hole in the rotation and the Cubs believe Tyler Chatwood can be a good replacement.

On the home front, Kyle Schwarber made an appearance in Orlando and he looks a lot different. From pictures, the World Series hero has slimmed down and looks more trim. It was a needed change for the young star if he plans on playing the outfield at a higher level. Epstein has continued to say that Schwarber will not be traded and  speaks highly of his improvement. Next season is a big year for the former Hoosier and Cub fans are counting  down the days.

New hitting coach Chili Davis is already working with Jason Heyward in Arizona and Maddon has heard good things so far. ““I see that being an easy dialogue.” No overhaul, just subtle changes, Maddon said Tuesday. The Cubs skipper also said Davis is like a “grad school teacher” and can get guys to the next level.

To some surprise, Mike Montgomery wants a starting role with the Cubs or wants to pitch elsewhere, reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Last season, the 28 year-old started 14 games last season, posting a 4.15 ERA as a starter. As a reliever, he had a 2.49 ERA in 61.1 innings of work.

It is clear Montgomery can be a reliable long relieve and an occasional spot starter.  But the number do not lie, he does a lot better in short innings of work. The Cubs like him there and if he wants something different, he could be a name that helps get a deal done.

Keep it here on Windy City Chronicle for all your Cubs news from the winter meetings in Orlando!



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