(CBS) Your guess may be as good as Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer’s as to who the team’s closer will be in 2018.
“That’s a discussion that’s ongoing,” Hoyer said when asked who the front-runner is on the Spiegel and Parkins Show on Thursday.
The Cubs recently offered incumbent closer and free-agent Wade Davis a qualifying offer, which is a one-year contract for $17.4 million. Davis is likely to turn it down and has until later next week to make his decision. The Cubs will gauge his interest in free agency. What Hoyer doesn’t know is how serious those discussions will get.
“Wade did a phenomenal job for us last year,” Hoyer said of Davis, who had a 2.30 ERA and 32 saves. “I think everyone loved having him, and he’s a rock of a person. I think that’s one of the great things about him. We didn’t know going in, but we’d heard that. He was a really comforting force not only on the mound but in the bullpen. He’s a guy that certainly, we’ll be in contact with. He’s a free agent. He’s earned that right. He’s going to have a lot of suitors.”
For some time, the school of thought had been that 26-year-old righty reliever Carl Edwards Jr. would be Davis’ heir, but Edwards struggled with his command too much for the Cubs’ liking in 2017, most notably in the postseason. He walked 5.2 batters per nine innings in 66 1/3 innings in the regular season, bringing his future as a closer into question, at least for the time being.
Of course, the whole bullpen is a focus for the Cubs.
“We’re going to be actively trying to improve the bullpen in many ways,” Hoyer said. “I think we’ll know who the closer is on whatever Opening Day (2018) is. That’s the key.”