Another school day down and another day closer to winter break. We still have to wait and see what some coveted assets decide to do, but in the meantime, the Chicago Cubs decided to make a new investment:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) December 7, 2017
Let’s go through this piece by piece…
1. Is Chatwood any good?
This is a bit of a loaded question. The Cubs brain trust seems to think he’s good enough to give a three-year deal worth $38MM, and while some of that is probably market-driven, it may be that Chatwood is in fact good enough to justify it. He had a lot better luck away from the lunar landscape that is Coors Field, and his ground ball tendencies in front of super defenders all around the infield should produce great results. Of course, there’s the injury history and the not-so-pretty overall numbers, but I’m just going to assume the Cubs know what they’re doing for now.
2. Does this prevent the Cubs from going after other pitchers?
Well, no. The rotation has Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Jose Quintana pretty much locked in. Tyler Chatwood makes four, and that means there could be a fifth acquisition coming up, whether it’s Shohei Ohtani (yes please), or a Yu Darvish or Alex Cobb (I’d be okay with that too). Given the lack of depth behind the top three and the questions we still have with respect to Mike Montgomery, another starter is probably on the holiday shopping list, and we should see it happen by the Winter Meetings next week, whether it’s Ohtani or someone else.
3. Does this acquisition portend any other baseball news?
I’m not sure about this one, either. I think the Cubs did this independently of the Ohtani sweepstakes, because whether they secured his services or not, a fifth starter would be needed. Given how few innings Ohtani and Chatwood have racked up in recent years, it may actually make sense to just load up on pitchers, with either a legitimate six-man rotation or a modified rotation with Montgomery as a swingman. I think this is the time to just get the pieces, and then have Joe Maddon figure out how to work with them later.
Verdict: I like the signing. Even if it doesn’t work, and while the money isn’t exactly light, it won’t bankrupt the Cubs. But if it does work, four of the five rotation spots (maybe six if the Cubs go that route) are locked in through 2020. Solid.
Featured image by Denis Poroy, Getty Images