The Chicago Cubs have already made a big move to bolster their bullpen with the acquisition of Wade Davis, but it appears they’ve added another arm with World Series experience to the mix on Tuesday.
According to multiple reports, a long-rumored deal with relief pitcher Koji Uehara is now done, and the Cubs have reportedly signed him to a one-year deal worth $6 million.
Uehara, who is 42 years old and spent the last four seasons with the Boston Red Sox, had a 3.45 ERA and struck out 63 batters in just 47 innings of work last season. After the acquisition of Craig Kimbrel, Uehara lost his closer’s role with the team, but he still managed to get seven saves for the National League East champions.
With the acquisition of Uehara, the Cubs’ pitching staff now has an interesting claim to fame. With Uehara, Davis, and Mike Montgomery, the Cubs now have three of the last four pitchers who recorded the final out of the World Series, as Uehara accomplished that feat with the Red Sox in 2013 and Davis did so for the Kansas City Royals in 2015.
The Cubs are likely going to use Uehara as a situational pitcher, but not in the way some fans would expect. As a right-handed hurler, Uehara actually is better against left-handed batters, holding them to a .139 batting average in 79 at-bats during the 2016 season.
That statistic likely means that Travis Wood’s time in Chicago is at an end, as it’s unlikely that they will be willing to match the $6.17 million salary that he made during the 2016 season with the Cubs.