General managers Dayton Moore of the Royals and Jed Hoyer of the Cubs discussed today’s trade that sends closer Wade Davis to Chicago in exchange for young outfielder Jorge Soler. (Find all the details and analysis of that swap right here.)
For the Royals, it was obviously a difficult decision to part with a player who had been a key cog of the organization’s 2015 World Series-winning roster. But it doesn’t mean that the club is packing it in this year, per Moore, who acknowledged the importance of getting a major league asset in a deal involving Davis.
“We think it’s important to try to accomplish both [winning and looking to the future],” said Moore. “We want to win consistently,” he continued, “and Jorge certainly gives us a better opportunity to do that.”
In Soler, it seems, the Royals believe they have a player who’s ready to make good on his evident physical talent. Moore emphasized the importance of adding a controllable, already-developed power bat to this franchise. And he suggested that he sees Soler as capable of playing a roughly average right field.
The new collective bargaining agreement changes some of the math when it comes to dealing pending free agents, because it reduces and complicates the potential draft compensation that can be recouped. But that apparently wasn’t much of a factor here. The new rules “didn’t change our thinking,” said Moore, who indicated that the deal would likely have gone through regardless.
On the Cubs’ side, the reasoning was all the more clear. Like Kansas City a year ago, the challenge is to repeat an immensely successful campaign that ended with a championship. With closer Aroldis Chapman leaving, even with former closer Hector Rondon around, that meant adding another late-inning power arm.
In this case, the addition of Davis shouldn’t be read to reflect upon the team’s other pen arms, per Hoyer. He noted that the Royals’ own experience shows how the added stress of a lengthy postseason run can run down a staff in the season that follows. The hope is that by adding an “extra weapon,” says Hoyer, it’ll “take a little bit of burden off all of [the rest of the pitchers].”
Notably, Davis missed time with a flexor tendon issue that raised red flags. Particularly with just one year left on his contract, the time to get value for the Cubs is right now. Hoyer noted that the team wouldn’t have felt comfortable parting with Soler — and his years of cheap control — were it not for the fact that the Cubs “felt really good” about Davis’s arm health. Chicago’s trainer conducted an in-person physical today. In conjunction with all the other medical information that changed hands, the Cubs obviously feel confident that Davis is ready for a full 2017 season.