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Davis opts for Rox over return to Cubs

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Another year, another closer for the Cubs.

The Cubs had talked to free agent Wade Davis about returning for another season, but on Friday, the right-hander signed a three-year, $52 million contract with the Rockies. The deal gives Davis the highest average annual value of any reliever.

CHICAGO -- Another year, another closer for the Cubs.

The Cubs had talked to free agent Wade Davis about returning for another season, but on Friday, the right-hander signed a three-year, $52 million contract with the Rockies. The deal gives Davis the highest average annual value of any reliever.

Brandon Morrow, who was the Dodgers' primary setup man in 2017, will likely take over the closer duties if the Cubs don't add another arm. Morrow signed a two-year, $21 million contract with the Cubs in December.

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"Obviously, if we broke camp right now, he'd be our closer," Cubs executive vice president and general manager Jed Hoyer said at the time Morrow signed. "We'll see what the rest of the offseason brings."

Whoever it is will follow Hector Rondon, Aroldis Chapman and Davis in that role for the Cubs.

Morrow does have some closing experience, saving 16 games for the Mariners in 2008-09. Last season, he was used in 14 of the Dodgers' 15 postseason games.

The Cubs will gain a Draft pick as a result of Davis' exit; they had extended a qualifying offer to him, but he rejected it. The Rockies will give up their third-highest pick in the 2018 Draft, which is currently No. 61 overall. The Cubs will get a compensation pick after Competitive Balance Round B, which would currently be the 75th overall pick. That number could change depending on where other free agents sign.

Adding pitching has been the Cubs' primary objective this offseason following the likely departure of starters Jake Arrieta and John Lackey via free agency, as well as Davis, Koji Uehara and Brian Duensing. In addition, the club non-tendered Rondon, who signed with the Rockies.

Davis set a Cubs franchise record by converting 32 straight save opportunities in 2017. What Cubs relievers will miss is his expertise -- Davis would talk to the relievers in the bullpen and watch video with them. Manager Joe Maddon called Davis the "anchor."

"Lackey made a great comment," Carl Edwards Jr. said this season. "[Lackey] said, 'You don't know if Wade just gave up 75 runs or if he hasn't given up a run all year.' He's the same guy every day. That's what I'm trying to be like."

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras posted congratulations to Davis on Twitter: "Wade davis I'm so happy for you and your family. You are a GREAT TEAMMATE. Thanks for what you did with @Cubs. Im really proud of you. Love you Brotha"

Tweet from @WContreras40: Wade davis I���m so happy for you and your family, You are a GREAT TEAMMATE. Thanks for what you did with @Cubs . Im really proud of you. Love you Brotha 🙌

During the Winter Meetings, Maddon emphasized the need for a strong bullpen.

"You've got to have that great bullpen to play the last game of the year and win it," Maddon said.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

 

Chicago Cubs, Wade Davis