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Cubs Free Agency Plan

Cubs Free Agency Plan


Free agency is here for all of Major League Baseball, leaving several teams with questions to be answered. The Cubs free agency plan will include trying to keep some members of the 2017 roster. The eight free agents include Jake Arrieta, Alex Avila, Wade Davis, Brian Duensing, Jon Jay, John Lackey, Rene Rivera, and Koji Uehara.

Who to keep:

  • Jon Jay had a fine season that saw him cover outfield positions. He posted a .296/.374/.749 in 369 at-bats that he was able squeeze out of Maddon. Jay had 112 hits, most he had since 2014 and the third most on the team. The left-handed batter had solid splits against righties and lefties but still won’t be enough to make the roster again. His playoff experience didn’t payoff this season but will be valuable to another that has the space that the Cubs do not.


  • Jake Arrieta has gone from a nobody to a Cy Young winner and World Series Champ since being traded to the Cubs. The decision on him will be the toughest off-season decision. They’ll likely match most of offers on him as he will be a hot commodity for a team looking for an ace. This season, he dealt with injuries and missed part of September. He shined during June and July, going 7-2 with a 1.69 ERA and an opposing .183 batting average.


  • In a Bullpen full of talent, the former starter Brian Duensing was the Cubs best left-hander.  The team recently claimed left-hand pitcher Randy Rosario from the Twins. Although little MLB experience, they’ll look to use him in a Duensing role if the price is too high to re-sign. Duensing went 1-1 with a 2.74 (62.1IP/19ER) and 61 strikeouts. He appeared in 59 games, third most among Cubs pitchers.


  • Wade Davis dominated when called to close out games this past season. Earlier this season he completed 27 straight saves to break the Cubs record, finishing with 32 saves in 33 attempts. Davis is the best closer in free agency and will make it tough on the Cubs to re-sign him. Last year, they let go of Aroldis Chapman because of the cost but might be willing to pay this time.

Who to definitely keep:

  • Rene Rivera was claimed off waiver from the Mets in late August and made a huge impact and one of their best hitters. In 20 games, he batted .341/.408/.591 with five doubles, two home runs and 12 RBIs. Rivera makes for a great option behind Contreras next season.


Who to let go:

  • John Lackey has not made his intentions clear for 2018 but either way it should not matter to the Cubs. He pitched in 31 games (30 starts) while going 12-12 with a 4.59 ERA. His 36 home runs were the third most given up this season by a MLB pitcher and was also slow to start games. The 39-year-old didn’t fear well come postseason. After being left off the rotation even with the most experience, he didn’t make an appearance until the the NLCS. His first appearance was 1.2 scoreless inning, followed by two struggling games. He gave up a walk-off home run to Justin Turner in Game 2 and another two runs in Game 5. Lackey’s 9.69 ERA over the games aren’t the last impression he hoped for but with not much else left to accomplish, he may retire.


  • Koji Uehara made a small impact this season in his 49 appearance. Uehara went 3-4 with a 3.98 ERA (43IP/19ER) while giving up seven home runs, walking twelve, and striking out fifty batters. He did not make the postseason roster due to him still recovering from back pain all of September. This and that he will be 43 at the start of the next season make for good reasons for the team to cut ties this free agency.


  • Alex Avila came to the Cubs via trade right before the deadline to back up Wilson Contreras. Contreras injury lead him to get more playing time over the final two months which he split with Rivera. Avila’s numbers dipped after being traded, batted .239/.369/.380 with six extra-base hits, 19 RBIs, and 40 strikeouts in 92 at-bats. Outplayed by Rivera, the Cubs should let Avila go as backup catcher.

Free Agency Plan

The former defending champs fell short of making the World Series for a second straight season. This season was roller coaster ride from the beginning down to the final out in October. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the rest of the front of will look in depth at the needs of the team and construct a detailed free agency plan.