Yu Darvish: Signs six-year deal with Cubs

Arnold Nichols
February 11, 2018

Ace Yu Darvish and the Chicago Cubs have reached agreement on a $126 million, six-year contract, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Saturday, bolstering their bid for a second World Series crown in three seasons. And as it turns out, the free agent market worked in their favor when Darvish couldn't find the reported seven-year contract he wanted (preferably for the $175 million Stephen Strasburg signed for with the Nationals, according to FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman) and may have been more willing to meet their price.

When it pertains to pitchers, the headliner for all of the offseason for starters has been Yu Darvish, who ended his season with the Los Angeles Dodgers after starting with the Texas Rangers. The Cubs' payroll is roughly $168 million with Darvish's $21 million average salary, according to Spotrac, which gives them the sixth-highest payroll in baseball. Assuming he recovers from an apparent pitch-tipping issue which led to a pair of poor outings in the World Series, he should be a dominant pitcher in Chicago.

With pitchers and catchers set to report to Major League Baseball spring training camps next week (and free agents who haven't signed holding their own training camp in Florida), teams and available players may be getting more serious about agreeing on some deals.

Last season, the Chicago Cubs were within two games of another World Series appearance.

The Cubs didn't need to get a whole lot better to be the consensus favorites in the NL Central, but that's exactly what happened. Darvish has a career 3.42 ERA. Granted, with virtually every big-name starting pitcher still on the market, that was unlikely to come to fruition, but a Darvish signing immediately boosts the Cubs' chances of returning to the NLCS for a fourth-straight year. Los Angeles is committed to staying under the luxury tax threshold this year. His record 0.75 ERA after the All-Star break that year made him a Bunyanesque legend.

Despite today's news, Cubs fans almost thought they had signed the Japanese pitcher a little over a month ago. Darvish made two postseason starts for the Rangers, one each in 2012 and 2016, and lost them both. The top remaining free agent starting pitchers available are Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn.

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