Ah yes, we are in the lockout and there is little news to discuss around baseball. A lot of us feel like this person below.
However, just days before the lockout, a number of intriguing players were non-tendered by their respective clubs. Lest we forget Kyle Schwarber was non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs last season, only to become an All-Star and have a career season. This season, there is an intriguing list of names available after being non-tendered. One such name is LHP Matthew Boyd.
Boyd was non-tendered by the Detroit Tigers. In 2019, Boyd looked like he was trending toward becoming an important part of the Tigers' rotation. However, struggles over the last two seasons have left him expendable by the up-and-coming club in the AL Central. Although Boyd had a 3.89 ERA in 2021, injuries shortened his campaign to just 78.2 innings in 15 starts.
Why the Cubs Should Pull the Trigger
The answer is fairly simple, but we'll provide some detail on the decision. The easy answer is yes, however, there is more to it than just a simple yes or no.
Boyd has shown flashes of potential. For starters, he has a five-pitch mix featuring a fastball, changeup, slider, curveball, and sinker. Over the last few years, we've seen the Cubs and their fancy pitching lab allow guys to improve their pitches and become more effective. Boyd feels like a capable candidate for said turnaround.
In addition, it never hurts to have left-handed starters. In 2021, the Cubs began the year without a single left-handed starter in their rotation. Justin Steele was added later in the season, but the group made up of Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta, Adbert Alzolay, Trevor Williams, and Zach Davies did not have any diversity of throwing arms. In addition, once Alec Mills entered the rotation, the case remained the same.
Now, the Cubs have added Wade Miley, and will likely give Steele a chance to start in 2022. Adding Boyd would give the team a great lefty-righty mix, especially after the big acquisition of Marcus Stroman on December 1.
Finally, Boyd feels like a low-risk signing with high-reward potential. After being non-tendered, a lot of players will sign one-year deals in order to prove their talents. At 30 years of age, Boyd still has time to capture a sizable contract in his career. A strong 2022 season would open up that possibility around a year from now. For the Cubs, the desire for shorter-term contracts makes Boyd's case for a Cubs team with arms on the way even more of a fit on the North Side.
What's the Move?
If I'm Jed Hoyer, I am checking in with the left-handed starter once the lockout eventually ends. He's most likely going to sign a one-year contract and he fits what the Cubs want to do in 2022. They want pitching depth without too many arms being locked up long-term. The Miley addition fits that bill and this one would too. Then, when some of the team's stud young pitchers are ready, they'll join Kyle Hendricks and Marcus Stroman at the big league level.