NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Cubs acquired a new closer and created less of a logjam in the outfield, trading Jorge Soler to the Royals for right-hander Wade Davis on Wednesday.
The Cubs came into the Winter Meetings wanting to bolster their bullpen and did so by adding the two-time All-Star. Davis was part of the Royals' three-headed monster bullpen in 2015, and he was a dominant setup man for Greg Holland before shifting to closer. Over the past three seasons, Davis has posted a 1.18 ERA with 47 saves over 185 appearances.
Cubs acquire Wade Davis from Royals for Jorge Soler
Cubs manager Joe Maddon knows him well from their time together in Tampa Bay (2009-12).
The Cubs acknowledged the importance of finding a closer last July when they acquired Aroldis Chapman to help them in the postseason. Chapman and Kenley Jansen are both available on the free-agent market but didn't fit the Cubs' 2017 budget.
"That's the thought. We did this deal with the idea of putting Wade in the ninth inning," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "That doesn't say we don't have confidence in the others, but one thing we learned this year is that when you play that extra month, it's hard on your bullpen. The more good relievers we can have and add multiple weapons, the better. We like all the guys we have, and hopefully that can take the burden off the seventh month."
Davis, 31, was on the disabled list twice this season because of right forearm strains. When he came off the DL in September, he finished with a 3.12 ERA in nine games, going six for seven in save opportunities. He has given up three total home runs over 182 2/3 innings in the last three years. Davis will be a free agent after the 2017 season.
Soler, 24, appeared to be the odd man out in the Cubs' outfield with Kyle Schwarber's return and Ben Zobrist's shift to left. In three seasons, Soler has batted .258 with 27 home runs and 98 RBIs. A right-handed hitter, he is entering the sixth year of a nine-year, $30 million contract. Leg injuries have limited Soler, who was on the DL this season because of a strained left hamstring.
If the Cubs didn't add a closer, Maddon said on Tuesday that Hector Rondon could return in that role. The right-hander was bothered by a strained right triceps in the second half, posting a 6.41 ERA in 22 games after the All-Star break.
"You're always looking to augment bullpens," Maddon said on Tuesday. "I think every organization, after this past postseason, is looking to re-invent their bullpens in different ways based on how we utilized ours."
Carrie Muskat /

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