Friday, 23 February, 2018

Cubs announce 6-year deal with Darvish

MLB Chicago Cubs-Workouts Feb 13 2018 Mesa AZ USA Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish addresses the media at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Frederick Owens | 15 February, 2018, 17:10

"Two starts isn't going to change anything", said Brandon Morrow, the Cubs' new closer and Darvish's Dodgers' teammate at the end of last season. Clearly, he lost manager Joe Maddon's trust over the 2017 campaign. It even appeared as though he might take less money to join such a contender. Mike Moustakas, who played alongside Cain and Hosmer for the Kansas City Royals a year ago, might be forced to settle for far less, falling short of his initial expectations. Darvish will also turn 32 in August and will be under contract with the Cubs until he is 37.

But if the Cubs don't start churning out some better young arms at some point soon, they are going to have a problem. The deal gives the Cubs one of baseball's deepest rotations and takes one of the top free agents off the market. The clock officially struck midnight on his career in Chicago when the Cubs agreed to a six-year, $126-million deal with right-hander Yu Darvish on Saturday.

But for a look at just how much Darvish brings to the Chicago Cubs' starting rotation, let's look both at what the rotation was projected at this season and where the Cubs would've been if they re-signed Jake Arrieta, the other man they were heavily seeking, instead.

With all pitchers and catchers required to report to spring training within the next few days, only a handful of free agents have a realistic chance of getting a contract that compares to Darvish's. Fans rose to their feet as Arrieta walked off the mound, knowing well it was likely the end of his dominance in a Cubs uniform.

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The Boston Red Sox have always been considered the favorite to land Martinez, though The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal has reported that the slugger is "fed up" with the team's reported offer of $125 million over five years. The Astros asserted Yu was tipping pitches.

Darvish's otherwise sterling career should quiet worries over his World Series performance. They won the World Series for a reason, but I don't think we would be doing our job if we evaluated based on a two-game sample. It was another reminder, in an offseason full of them, of management's failure, more than six years into its tenure, to successfully draft and develop pitchers of any note. The coming weeks undoubtedly will feature additional silly-but-great - and uncomfortable - free agent unveilings.

How much we should make of last year's home run numbers is an entirely different topic.

Just as important for the Cubs is that they've secured a rotation for at least the next two seasons - Darvish has an opt-out clause after 2019 - and likely through 2020. Darvish joins a stacked Chicago rotation that already includes World Series victor Jon Lester, ace Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks, and free agent addition Tyler Chatwood.

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