Rangers acquire lefty Smyly from Cubs

November 2nd, 2018

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have acquired veteran left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly from the Cubs in a trade that kept them from having to take on a $6 million buyout for pitcher Cole Hamels.

The Rangers are also receiving a player to be named later in the trade, which was announced by both clubs on Friday morning.

Smyly has missed the past two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He did pitch one inning in the Minor Leagues at the end of the 2018 season, giving Texas hope that he will be healthy and able to compete for a spot on its pitching staff in Spring Training.

"Drew got through the rehab process and got back on the mound at the end of August," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He was kind of preparing to come back to the Cubs as a reliever, and the Cubs made the decision it was not worth pushing him at that point. But he did get back on the mound, got a clean bill of health. We feel very good about his health and feel he should be on a normal offseason program and ready to come into Spring Training on a normal program. Drew is a pretty good guy to bet on."u1:p

The trade came about from the Cubs' desire to pick up a $20 million option on Hamels, a move they felt they couldn't make without getting some salary relief elsewhere. If the Cubs had declined the option, the Rangers would have been required to pay the $6 million buyout. That was Texas' responsibility according to the terms of the trade between the two teams on July 31.

Smyly was entering the second of a two-year deal with the Cubs that included a $7 million salary for the upcoming season. This trade allows the Cubs the salary relief needed to pick up Hamels' contract, and it gives the Rangers two potential players for next year instead of just paying the $6 million buyout.

Smyly's last full season in the big leagues was in 2016, when he started 30 games for the Rays and went 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. His 175 1/3 innings were a career high. Smyly was a second-round pick by the Tigers in 2010. He has a career record of 31-27 with a 3.74 ERA in 85 starts and 71 relief appearances from 2012-16.

Smyly is one of 121 pitchers who threw at least 500 innings in that five-year stretch. His 3.74 ERA ranks 42nd among those 121 pitchers while his .243 opponents' batting average was 32nd lowest. Smyly's 8.71 strikeouts per nine innings was 19th best.

When he is healthy, Smyly has the ability to command four pitches, including a fastball that averages 90 mph. He also throws a curve, a slider and a changeup. In his career, Smyly has held left-handed opponents to a .202 batting average while right-handed hitters batted .258 off him.

The move comes on the same day that Texas declined 2019 options on pitchers Doug Fister, Matt Moore and .