The Case for Wade Davis
As the Major League Baseball offseason rolls on, Cleveland Indians fans, myself included, have been questioning why the team has not made any moves of real significance. Instead, the team has lost key bullpen arms in Bryan Shaw and Joe Smith (again) as well as a key infield player in Carlos Santana. The team did solve the hole left at first base with the signing of Yonder Alonso earlier this week, however, the two bullpen spots have not been filled.
While the front office sits back and watches the offseason continue to unfold, it will be interesting to see what moves they will make. It is important to realize that in the past they have made key moves late in the offseason in years past (Edwin Encarnacion, Rajai Davis, Austin Jackson). These players have all been key players in the team’s success over recent years.
There is a multitude of relievers that are free agents this season that could be brought in to bridge the gaps between the starters and the bullpen. The Indians have arguably the best starting rotation in the American League between Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger.
One of the solutions to possibly replace Bryan Shaw would be to bring in Wade Davis. A lot of you may be thinking, “But we already have a closer? Why would we bring in another?” To those of you thinking that let me pose the following situation.
It’s the 7th inning and the Indians bullpen consists of Andrew Miller then Wade Davis then Cody Allen. Now tell me a team in the league that would want to face that bullpen when trailing in a close game?
Last season, the Indians pitching staff, as a whole, lead the entire MLB with a 3.30 earned run average and the bullpen combined for 37 saves, which was good enough for 17th in the league about average numbers. Adding someone like Wade Davis, who alone had 32 saves last season, would put two 30 save a year relievers into the Indians bullpen. Davis also posted an extremely good earned run average of 2.30 over 59 appearances and had nearly a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio with 79 strikeouts to 28 walks. However, that was his highest ERA in the last four seasons including last year. His era in 2016 was 1.87, in 2015 was a nearly perfect 0.94 and in 2014 was a 1.0.
In addition to being an extremely high-quality reliever and three-time all-star, Davis is someone who knows how to win. His overall career record is 59-39 and has been in the playoffs every year since 2014, including helping pitch a scrappy Kansas City Royals team to two World Series in consecutive years. He is also a World Series championship and can help provide veteran leadership to some of the younger players on the team. Throughout the last five or six years, it has been proven that one of the keys to a successful playoff team is to have solid starting pitching as well as a lights-out bullpen. The Tribe certainly has the starting pitching for a return to the World Series and have two amazing relievers, but bringing in someone like Wade Davis can only help their chances to bring another championship back to The Land.