Published: Sun, February 11, 2018

Cubs sign Yu Darvish to 6-year, $126 million contract

Cubs sign Yu Darvish to 6-year, $126 million contract

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Dodgers offered Darvish a deal in the same range, but he chose to come to Chicago. Darvish did not fare well in the World Series as he never lasted more than two innings.

Darvish went 4-3 with a 3.44 ERA in nine starts with the Dodgers down the stretch. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Darvish will make $126 million with the chance to make $150 million through incentives.

In the 2017 postseason alone, he limited the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cubs to two runs over two starts and 11 1/3 innings, then, in the World Series, amid suspicions he was tipping his pitches, twice failed to pitch out of the second inning against the Astros. 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.

Darvish's gain is also the other big-name free agent starters' loss, as the Cubs were also linked to Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb, both of whom are now significantly less likely - and I'd argue long shots at best - to also sign with them. First baseman Eric Hosmer, who has yet to sign, is believed to have received multiple seven-year, nine-figure contracts this winter. Texas, Milwaukee, Minnesota and the New York Yankees also reportedly expressed some level of interest, but Chicago's approach paid off with the agreement just days before the start of spring training.

One big signing, of course, does not prove anything, and the industry will still be watching to see how the rest of this late-forming market unfolds. With Darvish on board, the Cubs will roll out a rotation of Darvish, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood.

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. When it appeared the Rangers would not challenge for a playoff berth, they dealt Darvish at the trade deadline for three minor leaguers, including outfielder Willie Calhoun, one of the Dodgers' top prospects. He has always been a strikeout pitcher owning a 11.0 K/9 rate (the highest rate in Major League Baseball history among pitchers with 100 career starts), and he is a perennial candidate to hit the 200 strikeout mark. Two years removed from a title, the Cubs obviously fit into that category and addressed a significant need by adding Darvish to their rotation. He missed the 2015 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he has still pitched just as well since coming back from his injury.

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