The Chicago Cubs should give right-handed reliever Carl Edwards Jr. a shot at the closer role next season. Current closer Wade Davis will be a free agent entering this offseason.
Edwards Jr, 24, impressed the Cubs' organization this season. He went 5-4, with a 2.98 ERA in 73 relief appearances. He pitched in 66.1 innings and struck out 94 batters. The former 48th round pick turned into relief ace opened some eye lids this season and he is a huge contribution the Cubs' pitching success this season.
The Cubs' current closer Wade Davis pitched phenomenally this season too, but the 2017 all-star is expected to hit free agency this offseason and ask for Kenley Jansen type money. Davis, who is 32 years old, went 4-2 this season with 32 saves in 59 relief appearances. Davis also had a 2.30 ERA and struck out 79 batters in 58.2 innings.
Even though Davis had a splendid season as the Cubbies' closer, I believe they should let him walk and give Edwards Jr a shot next season.
First of all, Edwards is under team control until after the 2022 season. This would solve their closer question for years to come. Also, Edwards just turned 24 years old days ago, so he has a fresh and young arm. Edwards has pitched in the major leagues at different points over the past three seasons. The 2017 season was Edwards' first full season in the big leagues.
Edwards would save the Cubs millions of dollars if they choose to let Davis walk. The $7-12 million they can save this offseason for by not resigning Wade Davis can go towards starting pitching or an expensive trade target, such as Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton or Nationals' Bryce Harper (although he is likely to not be on the trade block).
Edwards is a fan favorite in Chicago. The fans would approve Edwards' transition into the closer role. His stats this season should impress the fans of the 2016 World Champions.
Internally, the Cubs' front office drafted Edwards Jr. so they know him and his mechanics well.
All we can do is speculate until Wade Davis signs either with the Cubs or a new team.