CHICAGO -- Earlier this month, the Chicago Cubs acquired closer Wade Davis from the Kansas City Royals for outfielder Jorge Soler. Davis played with Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay and is reunited with him as the Cubs attempt to defend their title. He took a few moments on the phone to discuss his move to the Cubs.
What were your first thoughts after getting traded to the World Series Champions?
Wade Davis: My first thought was taking care of my family of course. Just keeping the stress levels down and making a smooth transition. Now that it’s settled down, I’m excited about it and been motivated to get working, pushing a little harder and making sure I’m strong and ready for the season.
You mention a smooth transition. It must be that much easier knowing the manager first and foremost. You played for Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay and of course this will be your third stop with Ben Zobrist.
WD: Definitely knowing the manager is a good thing. His personality isn’t going to be anything unexpected, especially in terms of his approach to me. He knows me and that makes it easier as I get to know everyone else. I watched the World Series. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be a tough group to fit in or be around. They don’t seem too salty. It looks like a lot of good personalities.
What was your phone call with Joe like after getting traded?
WD: It was good. He’s always been a positive guy to talk to, a positive influence. He seems happy but motivated to do it again. That’s all you can ask for, and I’m excited to get back out there with him.
You said you watched the World Series so should all closers like yourself be ready to pitch 7,8,9 outs?
WD: (laughs) I know there are a lot of questions going around about that. I’ll do whatever I’m capable of every time I go out.
On that note, I’m sure you’ve noticed the Cubs have a couple of other guys that have closed games. They just signed Koji Uehara and of course Hector Rondon saved a lot for them. Do you see it as a few interchangeable parts back there even if you’re the main guy?
WD: Oh yeah, just watching the World Series, they have some nasty arms. I watched Carl Edwards Jr. a little bit. He has a special arm as well, and Rondon has been throwing that invisible ball for quite some time.
I mentioned Zobrist earlier. After watching him the year you guys won it in Kansas City and now winning the World Series MVP this season, you’ve really seen him at his best. What’s your take on him as he keeps getting better as he gets older?
WD: I saw him when he got sent down to the minor leagues with Tampa Bay. I’m at Triple-A at Durham, and he just caught fire. He started hitting home runs in August there, then got called up and hit another 8 or 9 home runs, and he never looked back. Just watching him go about his work, he was pretty dedicated player to his routine and his family. He’s definitely one of a kind.
That phrase ‘watch him go about his work’ is said often about him. He really gets his body ready for games, doesn’t he?
WD: Yeah, there isn’t a whole lot of down time for him which you hear a lot about players who end up being successful for a long time. They’ll have some chat time and conversations, but for the most part, they’re getting their work in, mentally or physically. He’s always doing something.
So everyone wants to know about your health. What was it like when the Cubs head trainer showed up at your house to check you out on the day of the trade? That’s a little unusual.
WD: He was really cool. We sat down and talked for about an hour, and he checked me out. We went over my history, and he was really cool about it. Definitely unusual, but it was good to get to know someone before jumping right into it.
And September assured you you were over the arm injury? Felt like your old self?
WD: It was definitely a battle getting back. Having that [forearm] muscle back to full strength and recovered. It wasn’t something I had encountered muscular-wise like that so it was definitely a long track back, but it healed up pretty good. September was good, and I just started to play catch now, and it feels good.
So what kind of mindset do you have going forward as your old team wins a World Series and now your new team wins one. Anyone you talk to who’s had a taste of winning doesn’t want to go backwards in his career. Winning seems like too much fun.
WD: Oh yeah, I mean you have to keep pushing. It’s so tough to win, and so I think when you have a team like the Cubs have, I mean you have to win when you can. They’re so young and strong you have to keep it going, especially with the rotation they have. You can’t take that rotation for granted. You have to go out there and kick some butts.
Ok, so we need some insight into your personality. On a pajama road trip, are you a Ninja Turtle guy or a superhero guy or what?
WD: Ha, well actually when we did one in Tampa Bay I was a bathrobe guy. Everyone had different stuff, on but I went with a bathrobe. I’m not against Ninja turtles. I kind of like them.