The Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals completed their trade, swapping Jorge Soler and Wade Davis on the third day of the Winter Meetings. Davis is owed $10 million in the final year of his contract, while Soler is under team control for four seasons.
Davis becomes the Cubs’ third closer since the start of the 2016 season. It was a role first filled by Hector Rondon, who then gave way to Aroldis Chapman after he was acquired from the New York Yankees in July.
Chapman reached free agency this winter, and there was little to suggest the Cubs had interest in re-signing him.
Davis recorded 27 saves this season with a 1.87 ERA, 2.29 FIP and 1.31 WHIP, and earned All-Star honors a second time in his career. However, the 31-year-old was twice forced to the disabled list due to a right forearm strain.
Nonetheless, Davis’ 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings and 2.94 strikeout-to-walk ratio are both the lowest marks since 2013, and his 3.3 walks per nine innings are the most since that same year.
The Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly had interest in trading for the right-hander, along with Royals All-Star outfielder Lorenzo Cain. Los Angeles was also connected to Davis prior to the non-waiver deadline.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman had Davis during his tenure as general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.
As for Soler, he moves on after signing a nine-year, $30 million contract with the Cubs in June 2012. There didn’t appear to be much of a role for the Cuban native, given the presence of Albert Almora, Jason Heyward, Jon Jay and Ben Zobrist, among others, on the roster.
Soler batted .238/.333/.436 with nine doubles, 12 home runs, 31 RBI and a 105 OPS+ in 86 games. Over parts of the past three seasons with the Cubs, he hit .258/.328/.434 with a 107 OPS+ in 765 plate appearances.