When the Cubs signed Drew Smyly earlier this offseason, the hope was that he could return at the tail end of 2018 to give a boost to the bullpen, a role in which the lefty previously excelled. His 2013 season with Detroit yielded a stellar 2.37 ERA and 2.31 FIP across 63 relief appearances, after which he became a full-time starter.
He continued to pitch well out of the rotation after a trade to Tampa in 2014, but battled through injuries and had a disappointing 2016 campaign. Tommy John surgery forced him to miss all of 2017 and should keep him on shelf for most of this season, but the Cubs are banking on a return to form once he’s fully recovered.
Smyly joined MLB Network Radio to discuss his new life with the Cubs, plans for the 2018 season, and his friendship with former teammate Alex Cobb.
“I’m definitely going to make it my goal to get back and throw some competitive innings at some point,” Smyly said.
“I saw two of my good friends rehab [Tommy John surgery] and come out on top with Matt Moore and Alex Cobb while I was a Ray,” Smyly explained. “I talk with [Moore and Cobb] on a weekly basis on what to expect. [My recovery] has been going really smooth. You just got have a very positive attitude and look to the future.”
This is the first we’ve heard the southpaw speak about his recovery since the Cubs signed him to a two-year, $10 million contract in December. If healthy, the deal could be a bargain, especially if he can return to a starting role. Even if he remains a reliever, the production could certainly be worth the money.
And though he can’t throw the mound yet, he’s already trying to help his new team with a pitch.
“I would love for [Cobb] to sign with Chicago,” Smyly laughed when asked if he is recruiting his old teammate. “He’s been one of my better friends. We just really hit it off and connect.”
You can listen to the full interview from MLB Network Radio below.
Drew Smyly on “Power Alley”: pic.twitter.com/YYPlXZivq7
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) January 5, 2018