Major League Baseball free agent rumors: Cubs, Yu Darvish agree to six-year deal

by Abel Hampton February 11, 2018, 4:12
Major League Baseball free agent rumors: Cubs, Yu Darvish agree to six-year deal

Darvish has agreed to a $126 million, six-year contract with Chicago, giving the Cubs one of the deepest rotations in baseball and taking one of the top players off the slow-moving free agent market.

The deal could approach $150 million with incentives, but, according to Rosenthal, Darvish would need to win multiple Cy Young Awards to hit that mark.

Jon Lester signed a six-year, $155 million contract with the Cubs at the same age as Darvish is now, so it would seem as if the mega contracts for pitchers are decreasing.

Darvish posted a 3.86 ERA in 31 starts with the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers last season.

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. The next level of starter includes pitchers like Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb who are both very reliable starters but do not have the same talent of Darvish.

One of the big appeals to Darvish, aside from being one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball, was the fact that he was not eligible to receive a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, and because of that he had no draft pick compensation tied to him. While Darvish's new deal doesn't officially close the door on a return from Jake Arrieta, it certainly makes it less likely. Darvish made two postseason starts for the Rangers, one each in 2012 and 2016, and lost them both.

After a 103-win 2016 season that culminated in a World Series title, the Cubs won 11 fewer games previous year and lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series, but will enter 2018 with a projected rotation of Darvish, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood, which will rank among the best in the league. He let the Astros bat.474 and was torched for nine total runs.

Darvish came to the United States as a Japanese pitching phenom and early on lived up that. The next few names on that list are Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale, Stephen Strasburg, Corey Kluber, Chris Archer and Madison Bumgarner.

Darvish has a long track record of throwing high-quality innings, with several years as a bonafide frontline starter on his resume. The final spot will be a Springtime competition between newly-acquired Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery.

The Cubs have been rumored to be in the running for Darvish for months as they look to fill the void left behind by former Cy Young victor Jake Arrieta.

He started 128 games, going 68-31 with a 2.73 ERA (803 IP/244 ER), 293 strikeouts, 6 complete games, and five shutouts.

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