Cubs give RHP Chatwood a three-year deal

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Chatwood projects to fill a back-of-the-rotation slot as Jake Arrieta and John Lackey have hit free agency.

On Thursday, Chicago took a big step toward improving their rotation by agreeing to a three-year contract with free agent righty Tyler Chatwood. He struck out 120 batters in 147 2/3 innings and struggled with his control at times, walking 77 batters for a 4.7 walks-per-nine-innings rate.

Chatwood has had stark home-road splits while calling hitter-friendly Coors Field his home.

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The Cubs will be banking on Chatwood to take advantage of his abilities as a groundball pitcher, as he had a 58.1 percent groundball rate last season with the Rockies. On the road, he recorded a 3.49 ERA and held foes to a.200 batting average. His career high is 158 innings and he has twice undergone Tommy John surgery. By comparison, Chatwood owned a 5-7 mark with a 3.49 ERA in 16 games on the road.

Chatwood, 27, is 40-46 with two saves and a 4.31 ERA over 130 major-league appearances, including 113 starts. The Angels selected him in the second round of the 2008 amateur draft.

Chatwood has signed as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs. Thus, better for Cubs front office tandem Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to spend money on a younger arm to pitch alongside Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, and whichever man manager Joe Maddon opts to use as the fifth starter, be it Shohei Ohtani or someone else.