The Cubs and starter Drew Smyly are closing in on a deal for the 2023 season, reports Jesse Rogers of ESPN. Reports emerged in early October that the two parties were involved in extension talks, but nothing came of those discussions before Smyly opted out of his side of a mutual option in November.
Smyly initially joined the Cubs after the 2021 season on a one-year, $4.25MM contract with a $1MM buyout on a $10MM mutual contract for the 2023 season, which Smyly declined, and $2.5MM in potential incentives. He would go on to make 22 starts, pitching to a 3.47 ERA in 106 1/3 innings with a slightly below-average 2o.4% strikeout rate but paired with a low 5.8% walk rate. Interestingly, despite ranking poorly in fastball velocity (20th percentile), fastball spin (24th percentile), and curve spin (8th percentile), Smyly posted a chase rate in the 77th percentile and limited hard hits (69th percentile).
Since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2017, Smyly has become a mercenary swingman, spending the 2019 season with the Rangers, joining the Brewers on a minor league deal in 2019 before finishing the season with the Phillies, spending the shortened 2020 year with the Giants, winning a World Series ring with the Braves during the 2021 season, and then joining the Cubs last winter. Over these four years, Smyly has made 71 starts (83 appearances) and pitched to a 4.65 ERA in 373 1/3 regular-season innings with a 22.9% strikeout rate and 8.1% walk rate.
The nine-year veteran will rejoin a rotation that includes Marcus Stroman, recent signee Jameson Taillon, and Justin Steele. Kyle Hendricks will likely have a spot on manager David Ross’s staff, but the 30-year-old had yet to begin a throwing program as of late October after suffering a mid-season capsular tear.
The financial terms of the agreement are not yet clear. The Cubs presently have around $181MM in estimated commitments for 2023, not including Smyly, per Roster Resource. Their projected luxury tax ledger is around $203MM, leaving the possibility of adding with the base tax threshold set at $233MM.
I called this one awhile ago. Pretty much seals Hendricks fate because I really think he needs surgery anyway and they know they really can’t count on him at all. Good signing.
Smartest comment he’s ever made. Atta Boy
Funny, “Meh” is the same thing I think whenever he comments.
I wouldn’t count Hendricks out quite yet. He has been an underdog since he joined the big league team and always seems to earn a spot in the rotation. Capsule problems seem to be a serious injury for power pitchers. Guys like Michael Pineda never seem to be the same after a capsule injury. Hendricks has always been a control pitcher. Never overpowering hitters but outsmarting them. If I was a betting man I would put money on Hendricks being in their rotation this year. Nestor Cortes of the Yankees reminds me of Hendricks. He doesn’t get the respect he deserves because he doesn’t throw 96+ as a starter. Yankee fans wanted a TOR starter to pair with Cole next year. Refusing to see they already had one.
I have. I appreciate Hendricks for what he’s done but I’m pretty sure if he was healthy they would of dealt him. His 15 million dollar salary for his last year means they would of had to eat some of it. But he’s not the Immediate Future, Or the long term future anymore. I gotta think Stroman will want to stick around and Tallion is here for 4 years and you have Thompson, Steele, Wicks, Brown, Killian, Sampson, Asad knocking on the door not to mention Cade Horton who should come rapidly. I think they should let him get the surgery and let him rehab and then maybe he can make it back for a late season run if needed. Best thing they can do for him right now.
They should have added Guy Smiley instead…
John Smiley? Solid lefty. Nice pickup. Lefties in their 50’s can still get it done.
Now I’m thinking John Lacky.
He’s a depth piece. Good to have him, they needed another lefty.Probably won’t throw over 120 innings. They will still need starts from Hendricks, Wesnewski, Sampson. Rooting for Kyle to be healthy.
Another player added to the average squad!
Depending on the contract (numbers arent in the article yet) it could be a good pickup.
Good move towards winning the NL Central.
Brick House Coffee Tables Inc
If a team manages to be dead average at all 26 roster spots, can they have an above average season?
@Brick House – Of course they can! With that said, you can’t say that Dansby, Hoerner or Happ are league average players, and you can probably add Suzuki to this list as well. The Cubs have dramatically improved their team this offseason. I still think the NL Central belongs to St. Louis provided that their pitching can remain relatively healthy, but the Brewers or the Cubs can’t be fully written off yet.
And the offseason’s not over. I think Hoyer will make some trades as well.
Again. Had to check the year on the post.
Check year for what? He is only 33 and coming off a season with a 3.47 ERA over 22 starts. You say it as though he hasn’t been a pitcher of consequence in years.
2017,2022. Drew’s been around a bit since he left Detroit.
I’m well aware but he is still only 33 years old and coming off a pretty good season. So again check year for what??
I thought he retired?
He was very solid last year. The Cubs improved defense is only going to help.
Cubs should play Bellinger at 1b he is a golden glove 1b man.
Bellinger has never won a GG at first base. He’s won a GG in the OF. You’d be wasting his defense at 1B.
He will likely get a few starts at 1b.. we are going with Mervis, but if he struggles we don’t have many options.. Im sure they will sign a Trey Mancini type of insurance policy though.
Bellinger isn’t signing a one year prove it deal only to be stuck at 1B. He’s going to want to play CF every day. Also why the Conforto to Cubs rumor doesn’t make sense as of right now since he likely wants to be in the outfield. Unless they move Happ back to the infield.
You must not watch baseball
I thought the same about Rich Hill, about ten years ago.
The Cubs are perpetually close to a deal.
When are they going to seal the deal?
I think that these deals , Dansby & now this one – can’t be reported as done because of the physical.
No, Most of the guys who have agreed to terms and haven’t ACTUALLY signed yet is due to 40 man problems. They have to get rid of someone because after they sign them they hit the 40 man.
Cubs have openings on their roster..
Uhmmmm, Cubs have 38 guys on the 40 man not counting Tallion, Swanson and Smyly. I know I suck at math but 41 is still more than 40 no? Probably should of spelled it out in Irish I guess.
Yes, there’s that as well. Thanks Mike.
I think the Cubs had their 40 man down to 36.. So, that shouldn’t be an issue.
I thought the Dansby signing put them at 40.
I just went and counted them for you. 38 right now with 3 more signings and more to come without trading guys off which is probably what they’ll do. Go to MLB.com, Teams, Cubs, roster, 40 man and count if you don’t believe me.Don’t forget they had to add guys so as not to lose them in the Rule 5 draft.
Long Story Short- You’re either going to see some DFA’s real soon , Or some trades, Or even more likely, Both. Time for you to earn your pay Carter. The fact that Swanson is on his honeymoon and won’t be around for awhile gains you some time as he would be the 41st guy.
That’s how pretty much all deals are reported.
Good sign. Kept wishing for the last few years he would make his way back to Detroit. He’s a great model of perseverance- for the young and/or injured.
Well he declined a 10 million dollar mutual option to go to FA so this ought to tell you what his market was. Doesn’t say what the Cubs did.
He was pretty solid last year.
When he’s healthy he’s good. Depending on the money it’s not a bad gamble. Hottovy seems to get good innings from him.
had a start here in South Bend, Got through 1 inning and then proceeded to get lit up by High A players!!! Stealing checks he sucks so bad!!!!
Non-velocity pitchers hate to pitch in the low minors, because the batters swing at everything. It’s hard to out-guess someone who isn’t thinking.
Era +118 last year but sure he sucks
It’s a valid point about the youth crushing him. But, oftentimes when these pitchers are going through recovery they are working on getting a feeling for their pitches again, similar to spring training games.
I wouldn’t consider his 6.75 ERA for evaluating his overall performance. I would look at his FIP and xFIP though, which were both over 4, indicating he’s closer to that performance than his 3.47 ERA.
Still a good lefty though, imo.
A FIP over 4 is not closer to 6.75 than it is to 3.47, even if it was a 4.99 FIP. It’s actually 4.23, so it’s nowhere close to being closer to 6.75 than it is to 3.47.
“FIP over 4 is not closer to 6.75 than it is to 3.47,”
Who said it was?
I said he should be evaluated by, and is likely to perform closer to, his FIP & xFIP rather than his ERA. I specifically said I would not take his 6.75 into consideration.
You’re arguing with Short Bus material. Put on a hockey helmet and skate headfirst into the boards and you’d get a better response Clipper.
Spoken as a real ‘baseball genius’. What a brilliant contribution of sports knowledge. Now you can get back to your coloring book.
@NickG, he had a 3.47 ERA over 22 MLB starts last season. A lone rehab start really is meaningless when there was a large sample size of MLB success last season
What happens in the minors stays in the minors. For guys rehabbing, those stats are meaningless.
It’s all srartin’ to come together.
I really like what I’ve seen of Wisneski. Got him from the Yankees in the Rizzo deal. While none of his offerings are especially elite, I love his poise and competitive nature.
His slider is special.
@ remember coop: I guess you didn’t notice Wesneski’s slider. You spelled his name wrong too.
He’s a good pitcher. We were excited about him in the Yanks minors. His slider is absolutely wicked and he is certainly going to be a contributor.
You can run the world if you can control a nasty slider!
Except he wasn’t in the Rizzo deal. He was swapped for Effross last season.
He wasn’t in the Rizzo deal. He was in the Effross trade before the deadline.
Effross was the guy Boonedoggle overused immediately and was done for the season.
Stroman (3.50 era), Taillon (3.91 era), Steele (3.18 era), Wesneski (2.18 era) and Smyly (3.47 era)
And they’ll have Gomes behind the plate instead of Contreras. Gomes has a substantially better pitcher ERA across the board with those guys than Contreras did.
Trouble is, Stroman is the only one of them I’d take even odds on putting up the same or better ERA in 2023. Taillon and Smiley had better years than their established track record and should be expected to have ERAs a bit over 4 and a high risk of injury… the other two are rookies where we won’t know what to expect until the league has seen them more.
Taillon is already years removed from injury-prone status. I think Cubs fan will be pleasantly surprised finding a reliable arm in him.
Dude was on our roster 2 yrs ago and Snit couldn’t trust him in the rotation. Very Homer prone and can’t get through a lineup twice. Jake Odorizzi but from the left side. He will have a good start or two but will get blasted more times than not.
Braves, your not completely wrong here, but he’s been serviceable as a Cub and at minimum can start some games and eat some innings. He is a back of the rotation guy, even on this Cubs team. Really nothing but upside in adding depth to the pitching staff. If he gets hurt or is ineffective, there should be young guys knocking on the door this yr to take his spot by July.
He was 11-4 starting for the Braves. Seems to have gotten the job done more often than not.
Tigers…It’s called run support, not good pitching. It’s pretty simple.
He will do fine, but you are correct he will often be used only 4 to 5 innings.
Like the addition of a LH, but Smiley is not the fireballing Ace this team is sorely lacking at the front of their rotation. Rodon wouldve been nice if this Cubs team really expects to reach the postseason again.
Now Cubs need to get to work on that AWFUL bullpen. Rodgers..? Probably need to go the trade route and/or start aggressively moving some of the power arms up in the system, and let go of the dream that they can all be starters.
Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I like the way the Cubs bullpen is shaping up. Brandon Hughes, Brad Boxberger, Hayden Wesneski, Keegan Thompson, Adbert Alzolay, Leiter, Wick, M. Rodriguez/M. Rucker. Really the only “awful” arm I see is Rowan Wick, and there’s a chance he rebounds.
I see Wesneski in the starting rotation.
Smyly was pretty decent last year when healthy, which is pretty much the story of his career. He seemed to show a genuine interest in coming back and expressed how much he enjoyed the city and organization. Not surprising he came back, even if he’s just a depth piece as a swing starter. Interested to see what the financials are, because I don’t see him getting much more than the mutual option amount.
Just screams that Cole Hamels will get a make-good contract.
Right, because a 33 year old who has pitched 242 mostly effective innings over the past two years is exactly like a 39 year old who hasn’t pitched at all the past two years and has worked a total of three innings the past 3 seasons.
Who is the 1 on that staff?
It honestly might be Justin Steele if he can pitch like he did in the 2nd half for an entire year
Stroman, Taillon, Steele, Weneski, and pick between Smyly or Hendricks for your # 5.
Sampson is chopped liver?
Insurance policy/depth, like he always has been.
Cubs making moves, but not a single potential superstar to cheer for as a fan. This team is bland.
Would you rather be a Rockies fan last year having Bryant to cheer for or a Giants fan 2 years ago having a 107 game winning team to root for? Cubs might not b making huge splashy moves, but they are adding solid MLB talent. They could make a run in a rather underwhelming division.
So who are the ” Superstars” Who were available this off season? Judge? He wasn’t going anywhere. The other SS’s? They were terrible deals. And I wouldn’t even call them Superstars. Everybody else were lumped into fair to good category. Superstars don’t really leave in FA very often. They’re either drafted or traded for.
Thats the NL central as a whole. Underwhelming and boring every one of those teams.
I could see the Cubs winning the NL Central with this team. Don’t see them making much noise in the playoffs but get in and anything can happen.
Even Stevie Wonder can see them winning the division.
He looked fantastic last year. The breaking stuff was as nasty as ever.
DeGrom Texas Ranger
Everyone is smiling now, but I bet they won’t be once they find out the salary.
We know for a fact it’s shouldn’t be more than 10 million. More like 5 I’m betting with some incentives maybe. And he could be trade bait at the deadline if they need something and the young P’s are ready to go. Lots of ways to go.
DeGrom Texas Ranger
I’m going off the fact that he turned down 9 million dollars by taking the 1 million opt-out instead of 9 million. It seems too early for him to cut his losses by signing with the same team for less than 9 million.
I am sure it will be more than he turned down but doubt it’s outrageous.
Surprised he turned down 10 million. Not excited to see what the contract is.
Voice of Reason
The Cubs now have six #4 starters. They should have taken the Tallion and Smyly money and signed Rodon. They need a #1, they didn’t need another #4
Rodon contract will be the #1 regrettable contract from this off-season. There is no way he will be able to start more than 90 games over the six years. He’s often injured and averages about 8 wins a season.
Seems with all the lack of starting pitching available there would have been more demand for Smyly…what does everyone else know or how much did the Cubs overpay?
I just counted the Cubs 40 man roster and it is currently at 39 without Smyly and Swanson. Tallion is on it now.. So, they have a bit of work to do. I expect Nick Madrigal to get traded maybe for one or two minor leaguers. Who knows.