GABP & other NL Central ballparks will make Cubs regret Shōta Imanaga signing

Shōta Imanaga signed with the Chicago Cubs, but GABP, Wrigley Field, and other NL Central ballparks won't treat him very kindly.

Cincinnati Reds, Great American Ball Park
Cincinnati Reds, Great American Ball Park / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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Congratulations are in order for Cubs fans - their team finally made a move this offseason. After months of being told that the Chicago Cubs were going to be active in free agency this winter, only to see the executives in Wrigleyville spend zero money, the North Siders reportedly made a deal by signing Japanese pitcher Shōta Imanaga.

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the deal is complicated and includes various escalators, opt outs, as well as both team and player-options. But the deal is essentially going to pay the left-hander about $15 million per year.

The Cincinnati Reds were rumored to be interested in Imanaga earlier this offseason, but their interest waned as the process went along. Ultimately, this will be a deal that the Cubs will regret, as a pitcher with Imanaga's repertoire won't find the NL Central ballparks to be very kind.

Shōta Imanaga will find GABP and other NL Central ballparks unkind

Every Reds fan knows that Great American Ball Park is a bandbox. Jokes are tossed about every year, oftentimes changing the name to Great American Small Park. And that's accurate. The balls fly out of GABP on a regular basis. There's a reason why the Cincinnati faithful have been begging the front office to find ground ball pitchers this offseason.

But GABP isn't the only hitter-friendly ballpark in the NL Central. Imanaga's home ballpark at Wrigley Field tends to be a launching pad, especially during the warm summer months. American Family Field in Milwaukee oftentimes favors the hitter as well.

None of this is to suggest that Imanaga himself is a bad pitcher. Had the southpaw signed with Cincinnati, the fanbase probably would be celebrating the move. Imanaga has averaged about 150 innings pitched over the last few years and has great stuff. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is impressive, however, those numbers do come from overseas.

It's not so much a question of production, but rather fit. Reds fans would be asking the same questions if Imanaga decided to ink a deal with their team. A fly ball pitcher tends to get burned playing in the NL Central. Will Imanaga suffer the same fate?

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