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How the Cubs Plan to Use Felix Doubront

July 31st, 2014 at 4:00 PM
By Tim Duxbury

Felix Doubront from Flickr via Wylio? 2012 Keith Allison, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

The Chicago Cubs struck a deal to acquire LHP Felix Doubront from the Boston Red Sox yesterday, much to the chagrin of a number of Cubs fans. Doubront, 26, was having a down year, to put it nicely, going 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA in 17 appearances this year for the Sox. Once thought to be the future of the Red Sox rotation, logging 11 wins in each of the last two seasons and posting an ERA of 1.29 in the playoffs in 2013, Doubront fell out of favor with the organization when went public with feelings about pitching out of the bullpen.

The Cubs acquired Doubront for the same reason that they took chances on guys like Scott Feldman, Scott Baker, Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel; they were high-upside arms for cheap. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have a history with Doubront from their days with the Red Sox, but they are also playing a numbers game. Pitchers “flop” and rebound all the time; just look at Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta, who has become the Cubs ace. Arrieta was a former fifth round pick who never had an ERA lower than 4.66 in 3 ½ years with the Baltimore Orioles and now he is 5-2 with a 2.18 ERA.

Felix Doubront is making $586,000 this year and the Cubs gave up a low-level pick in the Rule 5 draft to get him. Worst-case scenario: he flames out, the Cubs stay in last place and the world moves on with their lives. Compare that to the best-case scenario of Doubront rekindling the success he had last year when he went 11-6 with a 4.32 ERA (which should play better in the National League) and the Cubs end up with a quality left handed pitcher. Still think it was a bad move?

The trade deadline has now come as gone (expiring at 3pm today) but waiver trades may still be made in the coming weeks. Let us know what you thought of the Cubs’ trades this season in our latest fan poll located on the left-hand side of our homepage.

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