Saturday, 10 February:
The wait is over.
The Chicago Cubs announced the signing of free agent star Yu Darvish for a reported six year deal worth as much as $150 million. The base pay is $126 million, with the rest in incentives.
The 2108 free agent class has been a bear market so far; nobody has drawn really big money. The Yankees got Stanton for a song, Lorenzo Cain got a market correct $80 million, and Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb are still sitting.
It is no real secret Darvish wanted to go back to Los Angeles. But they were determined to stay under the budget cap and their offer was well shy of the $126 million. Both the Twins and Brewers were more than the Cubs; they had $150 mil on the table.
The Cubs simply put in some very doable escalators to bring the total contract in compliance with others.
The 31 year old right hander is 56-42 with a 3.42 career ERA. He had ‘Tommy John’ surgery in 2015, and is fully recovered. Some scouts were a little alarmed at his drop in velocity, but he still averages in the mid 90’s.
According to MLB he was the 8th best starting pitcher in the league last year:
Cubsquest had concerns that he may not be the most prudent investment; indeed the less expensive Alex Cobb was a better fit that would leave more money for other additions. But Darvish was cheap at $126 million.
Also, the Brewers called their hand; they were the high bidders on Darvish at $150 million base pay. This now means Jake Arrieta will be fortunate to get $100 million, and Cobb will be back to the $60 million he was offered months ago.
But the addition of Darvish immediately makes the Cubs favorites for a fourth consecutive trip to the playoffs…