Where would Cubs be without Wade Davis? Can they afford to let him go?
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Forget for a moment how the Cubs might finish this month.
Consider how they might finish next season — as in, do they have a closer in the house? Or will they try to bring back their lone All-Star, Wade Davis?
For a few days in July, the Cubs appeared flush with closers after acquiring young left-hander Justin Wilson from the Tigers.
But Wilson has inspired more criticism than confidence since then; former closer Hector Rondon is experiencing late-season achiness again, this time in his surgically repaired right elbow; and Carl Edwards Jr. still has occasional command lapses and is short on ninth-inning experience.
Meanwhile, Davis (32-for-32 in save chances) might give the Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen and the Pirates’ Felipe Rivero a run in the debate for best closer in the National League just before he becomes a free agent after playing for $10 million this season.
‘‘I’m not thinking past the next two weeks, honestly,’’ president Theo Epstein said. ‘‘It’s bad for me to be talking about offseason stuff at this point in the year.’’
But as the Cubs continue to cast wide nets for starting pitching into the winter, what they decide to do at the back end of their bullpen might be at least as significant in terms of keeping their competitive window open.
‘‘He’s had a great year, perfect in save situations,’’ Epstein said of Davis. ‘‘He’s been a leader out there. Any team would love to have him. But we’re not to the winter yet.’’
Notes: Pitching coach Chris Bosio, who was hit on the foot by a batted ball during batting practice recently, stayed behind in Chicago to have the persistent pain finally looked at. He’s expected to rejoin the team Thursday in Milwaukee. …Reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant got his final scheduled day off of the season Tuesday as manager Joe Maddon took advantage Monday’s team off day to give him a two-day break. …Infielder Tommy La Stella remains slowed by a mild groin strain that kept him out of the starting lineup against righty Chris Archer Tuesday. He’s available to pinch hit. …Rondon played catch Tuesday and could return at some point during the upcoming four-game series against the Brewers. He hasn’t pitched since Sept. 8.
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