8:46pm: The contract breaks down as a $3MM salary for Smyly in 2018, then $7MM in 2019, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). The latter season contains $6MM in incentives based on Smyly being a starter, with the other bonuses coming if he works as a reliever.
8:01pm: The Cubs have signed left-hander Drew Smyly to a two-year deal, the team announced. Financial terms weren’t released, though The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that Smyly will earn $10MM in guaranteed money, with more than $7MM also available in incentives. Smyly is represented by Frontline.
Smyly underwent Tommy John surgery last June, and is probably unlikely to pitch in 2018 given the procedure’s usual 12-15 month recovery timeframe. This led the Mariners to non-tender Smyly rather than pay the southpaw a projected $6.85MM arbitration salary in 2018. Smyly was entering his final year of arb-eligibility, so this deal with the Cubs will also cover his first free agent season.
The two-year commitment represents a lottery ticket for Chicago, who have the resources to take a flier on a still-promising 28-year-old in the hopes that Smyly can be healthy and ready to contribute in 2019. Cubs manager Joe Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey are familiar faces for Smyly from his time with the Rays from 2014-16.
Smyly has a 3.74 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 3.43 K/BB rate over 570 1/3 career innings with the Tigers and Rays. He came to Tampa as part of the blockbuster deal that sent David Price to Detroit at the 2014 trade deadline, and Smyly was also involved in a notable trade last January, going to Seattle for a three-player package that included Mallex Smith. Unfortunately for the M’s, Smyly ended up never throwing a pitch in their uniform, as he battled elbow problems all season long before finally succumbing to the TJ surgery.