December 8, 2016

7 December:

The Cubs, laying in the weeds once again, struck and got their man.

Not only that, but it is addition through subtraction once again, as they acquired Wade Davis from the Kansas City Royals. Davis, 31, was the their first choice last season. However, the Royals wanted a ridiculous amount of talent back and that’s why he wasn’t moved.

The Cubs instead acquired Aroldis Chapman and the rest, as they say, is history.

This year is a whole different situation. The Royals, lacking the type of income other clubs have had to improve organically, and start trading the chips from their 2015 Championship clubs while they still had value.

Davis is the first of many. More will follow; such is life for a small market team. The All Star closer is another of ‘Maddon’s boys’; he played for him from his rookie year until 2012. He is coming off an injury shortened season, suffering a forearm strain which sidelined him a stretch.

Cub doctors evaluated him and said he’s good to go. Keep in mind that the Royals rode their bullpen hard. They didn’t score a lot of runs and their staff would rack up tons of saves. The Cubs, on the other hand, led the Known Universe in run differential; winning more games by bigger margins than any other team.

Davis will be used a lot more sparingly, and then when crunch time comes in the fall like Chapman before him, will have a fresh arm. The Giants just laid out $60 million for Mark Melancon, the Yanks have a $96 million offer on the table for Chapman and Kenley Jansen will fetch just as much.

Davis is owed $10 milllion in his walk year. As a pure business decision it’s just short of brilliant.

They will say ‘so long’ to perennial prospect Jorge Soler, he of the prodigious power and godawful defense. That he never fit on the team was painfully obvious. The Cubs, like all championship clubs, stressed defense.

Soler just didn’t have the instincts.

Having seen him play from his first game for AA Tennessee Smokies to his last outing in right field, he made absolutely zero improvement. He freezes on anything hit right at him, and cannot judge the arc or slice on any ball hit in the gap.

His cannon like arm missed more cutoff men then it ever hit. Frankly, it was painfully obvious that his future -and this is if he can address his contact issues- was in the AL swinging a bat. For the Royals, Soler makes all sort of sense.

First of all he’s young (24) controllable- the Cubs signed him to a 9 year $30 million deal in 2013- and he’s CHEAP. His presence in the lineup will give both protection to the batter in front of him and give other managers pause.

Soler is selective; he will take a walk and that is his biggest saving grace. If all he has to do is hit and not look panic stricken in right field, he can concentrate on pitch selection. His wingspan is such that if he can keep his hands back he could still launch breaking balls away out of the park.

If he does that he has 40+ homer potential. Cubsquest doesn’t see that happening, though. A more realistic 28-30 homers and a .250 average seems more likely. But that will be plenty for a DH and make him a top run producer for the Royals.

It is a deal made in heaven; perfect for both teams and not costing a fortune as well. Details are still sketchy and one source says the Cubs will pick up Soler’s salary, too.

Wade Davis will help the Cubs immeasurably, and their path to another Championship is now on track…