The Cubs' bullpen puzzle got a little trickier Friday, as it appears Wade Davis won't be returning as the North Siders' closer.
According to a report from Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, Davis has agreed to a huge three-year deal with the Colorado Rockies, one Passan reports is worth $52 million.
That's one of the biggest contracts ever for a relief pitcher — one that can get even bigger, per Passan, as big as $66 million should a fourth-year option kick in — but for the Cubs, it means they'll have to come up with someone else to close out games.
Of course, this has been a possibility for some time, with Davis one of the hottest commodities on the market in terms of relief arms. But there's no doubt Davis was excellent last year in his lone season on the North Side. He converted 32 of his 33 save opportunities and turned in a 2.30 ERA in 59 appearances.
After helping the Kansas City Royals to back-to-back appearances in the World Series (including a championship in 2015), he once again pitched in the postseason, saving four games for the Cubs in series against the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. While he surrendered three earned runs in 6.1 innings during the playoffs, he picked up the save with an epic performance in Game 5 of the National League Division Series, pitching 2.1 innings to eliminate the Nationals.
As for 2018, though, the Cubs will need a new ninth-inning man. That could be Brandon Morrow, who the team added earlier this month on a free-agent deal. Morrow has saved just 18 games in his 11-season career, but he was a very effective late-inning arm for the aforementioned Dodgers last season, posting a 2.06 ERA in 43.2 innings of work. The Cubs also inked Steve Cishek this month, who has closed for the Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners, picking up 121 career saves. He saved a combined 73 games for the Marlins in 2013 and 2014. Internal options include Carl Edwards Jr. and Pedro Strop.
And of course the Cubs could add another free-agent arm to the bullpen, too. One big-name closer remains on the free-agent market: Greg Holland, a former teammate of Davis' in Kansas City. Holland was the NL saves leader in 2017, with 41 for the Rockies, who seemed to have replaced him with Davis. Also still available is Addison Reed, who saved 19 games for the New York Mets last season.