The Chicago Cubs struck early this winter with a quick signing of Tyler Chatwood, a starter who has never qualified for the ERA title in his career. They signed him to a three-year, $38 million deal, reflecting at least in part the importance that Statcast data plays in teams' decisions on which players to acquire and at what cost.
Chatwood was the clear No. 4 starter in their rotation, with Jose Quintana their No. 1, followed by Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks in either order, and a cast of several potential starters for the final spot. Rather than adding another back-end starter, the Cubs decided to take advantage of the soft market for top-end free agents by signing the best player still available, Yu Darvish, at what appears to be a bargain salary on a deal that's a year or two too long.