The Cubs and starter Drew Smyly are in agreement on a one-year contract with a mutual option for a second year. The first year carries a $4.25MM base with a $1MM buyout on a 2023 mutual option. Smyly, then, is guaranteed $5.25MM over one season with an additional $2.5MM available in potential incentives. The two sides were reportedly close to coming to terms on a deal yesterday.
Smyly should actually get the opportunity to take the hill in Cubbie blue this time: he previously signed a backloaded two-year deal with the Cubs when recovering from Tommy John surgery prior to the 2018 season. He spent that year rehabbing with the organization without ever making an in-game appearance.
After the season, the Cubs dealt Smyly to the Rangers in a bit of financial acrobatics. At the time, the Cubs were trying to bring back Cole Hamels, who had a buyout option that Texas was on the hook to pay if the Cubs didn’t accept a team option. The Rangers were basically given the choice of paying Hamels’ $6MM buyout, or taking on Smyly and his $7MM, one-year deal.
The Rangers chose to avoid the dead money and add Smyly to their rotation. Even if Texas’ hand was forced to a certain degree, they needed pitching, and Smyly seemed a fair and affordable bet to rebound from Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately, he never found his footing with the Rangers, posting a 8.42 ERA across 51 1/3 innings, earning his release in June.
Since then, he’s become a mercenary swingman, finishing the 2019 season with the Phillies, spending the shortened 2020 year with the Giants, and then winning a World Series ring as part of the Braves last season. Smyly did not make the postseason rotation, but he did appear in three games during the run, including twice in the World Series.
During the regular season, he made 23 starts and appeared in 29 games for the Braves, logging a not-insubstantial 126 2/3 innings with a 4.48 ERA/5.11 FIP. Smyly continued a career trend in keeping the ball in the air with just a 39.2 percent groundball rate in 2021. He recorded a 21.4 percent strikeout rate and 7.5 percent walk rate, both numbers fairly close to average marks for a starting pitcher.
For the Cubs, Smyly can help fill out a rotation that’s improved from last year’s unit, but still facing a number of questions. Marcus Stroman, Kyle Hendricks, and Wade Miley make up a veteran front three, but there’s not much beyond that veteran trio, especially with the recent news that Adbert Alzolay will begin the year on the injured list. Smyly becomes the leading candidate for the fourth spot in the rotation, and given the guaranteed money on his deal, he’s a safe bet to at least start the season in the rotation.
Looking over his shoulder, Alec Mills, Steven Brault, Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson, Cory Abbott, Anderson Espinoza, and Brailyn Marquez are other potential rotation candidates. Down the line, Caleb Kilian, Ryan Jensen, Riley Thompson, and Alexander Vizcaino are prospects with some pedigree who could play their way into rotation minutes.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter) broke the initial news of the deal, while MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter) added the initial financial terms. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand provided the details of the mutual option.
.500 pitcher for a .500 team…
Hate away dude..but being real..Smyly is exactly what the Cubs are right now. Mediocre. He doesn’t really help or hurt..just eats a few innings..
Cubs are reportedly front runners for Correa….
Both those numbers are high.
Maybe. I’m saying 78-84.
Sounds about right..they’d be a year or two away if they didn’t have Jed..who’s a coupon shopper..and this is coming from a Padres fan (and yes..I know we’re in for a rough year..don’t remind me)
I feel like this guy has signed more contracts with the Cubs than games he has appeared in for them.
I’m pretty sure you’re correct
Yep. 2nd contract. No appearances.
Talented guy. Completely unreliable.
He also signed with the Mariners and never threw one pitch for them
John Rocker fan club
One step forward, two steps back.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
I wonder if got 11 million or more again?
Not this time. The contract he got from ATL last year is still a head scratcher. Did they get their $11M worth? No, and they knew they wouldn’t. $4.25M is just about right for this guy IF he doesn’t spend half the year on the IL.
Better not be for 11mil.
Are we at the point yet where contenders are done with free agent starters? That herd is ANEMIC
Well, that’s a wasted $5.25M.
The Dodgers just paid $8M for Tyler Anderson.
As a phils fan, have fun with that cubs fans
Cubs aren’t trying to win a title. He’s fine as a potential 5th starter.
Feels like Drew Smyly should be 50 by now.
Listen folks, I’m Cubs fan, so nobody wants to see them win more than I do. That said, this is all a masquerade. They aren’t truly trying to win it all; they just want to be “competitive” late in the season so that fans will continue to come out, unlike last year. Last season, after the trade of the “core”, they averaged far less fans than before the deadline. Ricketts doesn’t want a repeat of that (remember, “Ricketts” rhymes with “tickets” lol). So, he’s willing to spend to a point. But obviously the whole bs about being interested in Correa if he didn’t demand a 10-year deal was a load of crap. He signed a 3-year deal, which is actually a series of one-year contracts. But Ricketts won’t spend $35MM on a player for possibly one season. Maybe in 2024-25, but not now. He figures if they have a real good team once every decade that should keep Cubs fans happy.
Yes, under his ownership, the Cubs won a title. But that’s because he allowed Theo to do whatever he wanted. Jed will never be allowed to do that. Ricketts has learned that he doesn’t need to spend like that in order to satiate most Cubs fans. Well, this ain’t one of those Cubs fans. I smell smoke, I think fire. I see bs, well, you get it.
The cubs giving away a high draft pick for one year of Correa would be insane. The cubs signing him to ten years would insane. He already passed on the mid tier option of 5-6 years and a high AAV, I am assuming that would of been a sweet spot for a lot of teams.
A high draft pick? Their first round pick wouldn’t be going anywhere, plus do you know how often prospects actually make the big leagues, not only are actual good players? C’mon now, weak sauce.
I did not think they would get Correa. And even with him, I don’t think they are making the postseason this year. But they can’t do a teardown like they did in 2012-2014. They will have a better chance next season with another trade deadline, another off-season when Correa may be available and hopefully some prospects like Davis and Kilian should be ready..
rememberthecoop16 mins ago
Listen folks, I’m Cubs fan, so nobody wants to see them win more than I do. That said, this is all a masquerade. They aren’t truly trying to win it all;
Of course not. I hope this isn’t news. Not everyone can win it all, and one of the worst things a team can do is to try to pretend that they can.
You are correct and I’m a Cubs fan too. They are trying for luck at the 12th playoff spot and will deal at the deadline again.
But hey, wait til next year!
Relax, I’m not a Cubs fan and no fan of Ricketts either, but I like what their doing. Rebuilding the farm and putting a nice team together, in a weak division..
They were going no where with Rizzo, Bryant and Baez. Schwarber I would have kept, but it appears Kevin Long turned him around.
completely agree that the old ‘core’ weren’t going to win another championship
also want to point out it is very possible (and has happened several times in the past) for a team not trying to win it all to get hot at the right time and win it all
While they’re *not* trying to win could they please trade Contreras to the Yankees so we can try to?
Yankees fans everywhere-
Can you wait until the trade deadline? If the Cubs extend Contreras, will you settle for Gomes?
Cubs collecting Braves pitching. They will have a nice ring ceremony for these guys when the Cubs play in Atlanta.
They will probably get no boos. Compare that to when that other guy comes back.
Freddie won’t get booed either.
They already had Wade Miley
Might as well just sign Drew Smyly
Not sure – but maybe it’s wily
They need Wily Peña.
Smokin Joe Charboneau
And John Smiley
“Kroook!”, says Kuip, smiling slyly.
Are the cubs gonna be competitive? Yeah they will be. NL central isn’t a runaway for my brewers or cardinals. At the least, they have tons of players to unload at the deadline for more prospects. A+ offseason for a team who were picked to be awful. At least they’re trying and can field a competitive club *cough Reds*
The Cubs are definitely going to make things interesting in the NL Central
long time coming
The Cubs are going to stink. And the White Sox are trying there best to stink in a few years, despite all the young, CHEAP talent on the roster. Makes no sense.
I don’t understand your theory behind the White Sox trying to stink in a few years when certain core player are locked up to potential players in the minors to replace guys!
Uh, watch a game or two sometime. The Sox rely on young players who can’t hit the broadside of a barn against decent pitchers (especially RH). They refuse to add an everyday starter in RF and 2B to establish some depth in the lineup. I mean damn, you have a PLETHORA of quality infield FAs available and the Sox don’t try to get ANY of them? With a hole at 2B on a “contending” team? And that trade for Kimbrel just looks worse by the day, with no plan for Madrigal’s replacement. The Sox love telling their fans they’re going to do things, and then sit on their hands. This has been the case for years now, as most Sox fans with a memory will tell you. I just don’t understand how this team can stand pat year after year while other teams get fat and happy signing FAs they don’t need. This is not sustainable longterm. Injuries, regression, dismal postseason performance will eventually takes its toll. I give it two more years before the sell offs start.
I have watched more games than you. I don’t argue with negative people who think the White Sox need to this or that but here is some food for thought. Josh Harrison is going to fill the void at second base for at least this season until next year until Yolbert Sanchez is ready to come up. Madigral is good but can’t stay healthy and is a below mediocre fielder.
So your cognitive dissonance would allow you process the viewpoints of others who think critically? Got it, though it does lead me to the obvious question… why are you here?
Cubs’ fans should not be surprised if the Cubs make a move for Trout in the next year. Why would the Angels move Trout and why would the Cubs be perfect suitors for him? For starters, the Angels are in a big predicament with trying to keep Othani and it would be hard with Trout’s contract along with the one for Rendon. The Cubs have the money along with some players like Madigral to Contreas or even Davis with a minor league pitcher to pull this off.
Contreas can fill in that catcher spot for the Angels along with playing DH and reunites with Maddon. Madigral seems like a type of hitter that Maddon likes on his team. Davis could be part of this trade but I am just throwing out scenarios for this to happen.
Trout is a generational player and needs to be in a big market city like Chicago. Now that there is an universal DH Trout can play the outfield and DH to prevent injuries and missing time.
I am a White Sox fan saying this!
No offense, but you clearly don’t understand the relationship between the Angels and Trout. He’s not going anywhere.
Not only that. The Cubs aren’t the type of club that would commit that much payroll to one player. Never mind that they don’t have the trade assets to get him.
Lastly, the Angels couldn’t do anything with Trout and a much bigger budget (as great as Trout is). What would the Cubs do with him? My guess is, sell a few more tickets. But that’s about it.
Clearly, you can’t read and don’t understand money. The Angels have a huge predicament with trying to keep Othani.
Clearly, Trout is the last big contract they would get rid of, if they were worried about their payroll. You’re not as smart as you think you are.
The Cubs will need a lot of things to break right for them in order to make the playoffs, but they have done a pretty darn good job adding players who if they have personal above average years, they could surprise a lot of teams. Hats off to Hoyer & Co. for not going into a full rebuild. If the Cubs play hard, fans will show up to support them despite the results. Most of the players they have signed are known to be hard working, maximum effort guys, so the fan support should be there. During Covid, the owners stated that 70% of team revenue comes from day of game (attendance, parking, food, etc). While I’m not sure that number is accurate, there is no doubt that the Cubs rely heavily on fan attendance to be profitable so they are taking the right approach here. Put a hard working, likable product on the field and they will get the support they need. If Suzuki can become a star, he alone will drive up attendance considerably. It was a brilliant move by them to sign him, as was the Miley waiver claim and the Stroman deal. They are spending money wisely as promised.