Cubs Sign Yu Darvish To Six-Year, $126M Contract

Posted February 11, 2018

Several other teams had been in pursuit of Darvish - including the Dodgers, Brewers and Minnesota Twins - and those teams could quickly pivot to the other top starters on the market, including Jake Arrieta (whom Darvish essentially replaces atop the Cubs' rotation), Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb.

Chicago has agreed to a six-year deal with right-hander Yu Darvish, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday afternoon.

Whether the Cubs and team president Theo Epstein admit this or not, the team probably wasn't expecting to sign a free agent of Darvish's caliber - and price tag - going into the offseason.

Milwaukee reportedly pitched a $100-plus offer to Darvish recently, which he turned down. In addition, prospect Adbert Alzolay is now much less likely to breeze his way from Double-A to the majors at any point next season, as the Cubs can be more patient with him in the minors. Gimenez would regularly catch for Darvish in Texas.

The right-hander made 31 starts past year between the Rangers and Dodgers, pitching to a 3.86 ERA with a near-identical 3.83 FIP. Darvish's 2017 season had its ups and downs, including a disastrous performance in the World Series, but ultimately he still had a productive year. Those first two rounds, it was smooth sailing for him and the Dodgers. Darvish's primary gains by landing with the Cubs is premium run support and a boost in terms of strikeouts, considering he spent much of his US career pitching at Texas' Globe Life Park, which severely deflates them. For one things, Darvish was famously awful in the World Series previous year, and his two bad performances - whether they were because of a slider-proof baseball or because he was tipping his offspeed pitches - probably cost the Dodgers a World Series title. He let the Astros bat.474 and was torched for nine total runs.

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But it gets better.

Darvish came to the United States as a Japanese pitching phenom and early on lived up that. He spent part of his offseason working out with Clayton Kershaw near Dallas.

Lefty slugger Schwarber could be a difference maker if he rebounds from last year's struggles and looks this year more like he did in the second half of 2017 (.894 OPS, 17 homers) than he did in the first (.178 average and a demotion).

Darvish had Tommy John surgery in 2014, then missed all of 2015. Over 94 starts during that period, Arrieta posted an ERA of 2.71. He did manage to make this past season's Midsummer Classic. The final spot will be a Springtime competition between newly-acquired Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery.

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