Chatwood, who turns 28 later this month, is the first starting pitcher to come off the free-agent market (if we’re not counting converted reliever Mike Minor who will start for Texas). The ex-Rockie was linked to the Orioles and Rangers at points this winter before joining a Cubs rotation that currently includes Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Mike Montgomery with veterans Jake Arrieta and John Lackey testing free agency.
Chatwood worked to a 4.69 ERA and 4.94 FIP in 147.2 innings for Colorado last season, being demoted to a bullpen role after struggling in the rotation. He struggled (as many pitchers do) at Coors Field, notching a 6.01 ERA in 70.1 home innings in contrast to a 3.49 ERA in 77.1 innings on the road. Over the last two years, Chatwood owns a 2.57 ERA on the road, with batters hitting just .195 off of him.
Chatwood broke into the majors as a 21-year-old with the Angels in 2011, so he’s younger than most free-agent pitchers. That youth, combined with his encouraging strikeout and ground-ball numbers, made him one of the more unique free agents in a class that includes top arms like Arrieta, Yu Darvish, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn.
Chicago has long been regarded as one of the favorites to sign Cobb and still could strike a deal with the ex-Ray if the price is right and the club wants an upgrade over Montgomery at the back end of its rotation. The Cubs are also in pursuit of Shohei Ohtani and are one of the seven finalists to land him.