Cubs Sign Tyler Chatwood, Interesting Pitcher

The hot stove is flickering! There is actual news!

Chatwood was one of the more interesting free agents in this class. Mike Petriello made a case for why Chatwood could be this year’s Charlie Morton, a high-velocity guy with a high-spin curveball who just needs a change of scenery. He was always likely to sign with an analytically-inclined organization, and the Cubs certainly qualify.

Chatwood ranked 17th among our Top 50 free agents heading into the off-season, with projections that work out to roughly league-average pitching when he’s on the mound, with durability a legitimate question.

Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 3 $10.0 M $30.0 M
Median Crowdsource 0.0 $0.0 M $0.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 0.0 $0.0 M $0.0 M
2018 Steamer Forecast
28 128.0 10.4% 19.3% 53.4% 4.32 4.39 4.36 1.6 1.5

I projected he’d get $30 million over three years, but it sounds like he did a bit better than that.

At nearly $40 million, Chatwood is no huge bargain, but there are definitely things to like about having him as a back-end starter with upside. There’s also plenty of risk here, of course, and the fact that an upside play with a limited track record of success costs $40 million tells you that this is a good winter to be a free agent pitcher.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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6 years ago

Is it just me or is 13mm per year a little high?

6 years ago
Reply to  MHanny17

Maybe. Chatwood didn’t get the QA from the Rockies, so he didn’t cost the Cubs a draft pick. Could make up for the cash. Maybe?

6 years ago
Reply to  MHanny17

If you go by his numbers away from Coors, it’s probably the right price. Fair but definitely not a bargain.

6 years ago
Reply to  tz

You have to put a lot of faith in his ability to limit contact outside of Coors. His BABIP last year on the road was .217. Although his career road BABIP is .272.

They must be banking on a Kyle Hendricks-type of situation outside of Coors, although he walks way more than Kendricks (and I think strikes out less as well).

6 years ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

I also think they are banking on being able to change the effectiveness of his repertoire/stuff simply by taking Coors and its diminishment of repertoire/stuff out of his head.

And they may be right. Away – he has improved over the years. At home – he has struggled and has basically not improved at all with more MLB experience. I can easily see where that struggle-at-home has gotten into his head – and by getting rid of that, he can make a nice leap forward in an environment that will now be 100% ‘normal’ rather than 50/50 split between normal/moon.

That said – I don’t think his improvement is a Hendricks control-type one. I think its more a stuff or pitch-mix type.

6 years ago
Reply to  jfree

Yeah, I was thinking of Hendricks in terms of results, not style.

In general I think it’s a good idea to buy low on guys coming out of Colorado but I don’t think this is buying low.

Just not sold yet, but maybe the new Cubs pitching coach will make this look really good.

6 years ago
Reply to  MHanny17

$40 million buys about 4.5 WAR at free agent prices. Looks like that’s exactly what he’ll be projected for, since he’s projecting for 1.6 WAR next year.

6 years ago
Reply to  ehalt

Yeah, but no one actually wants to pay $10 million a win. That’s just what we’ve figured out it has cost teams in retrospect, which includes a bunch of players totally busting in their new locations.

The Cubs are almost certainly on banking on something better than that.

6 years ago
Reply to  MHanny17

When the guy running the front office is getting paid ten million per year he has to pay more for everyone.

I guess.

Baron Samedi
6 years ago
Reply to  MHanny17

The Cubs literally have infinite money.

6 years ago
Reply to  Baron Samedi

You keep using that word … I do not think it means what you think it means.

6 years ago
Reply to  MHanny17

He’s a helluva defensive pitcher and can also hit a little bit. His 4.69 ERA came out to a 94 ERA- so the Cubs are pretty much banking on him to provide a little bit of everything if you ask me. A career .217 BA from a pitcher is pretty good. And if his walk rate and/or homer rate comes down a bit, he looks even better.