May 21, 2018

Yu Darvish, Cubs reach $126 million, 6-year deal

11 February 2018, 05:07 | Ken Black

The Chicago Cubs signed free-agent pitcher Yu Darvish to a six-year, $126 million deal on Saturday afternoon, according to multiple reports.

The deal includes an opt-out clause and no-trade protection along with escalators that could push the deal to $150 million. In 31 combined starts last season, he was 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA. 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 joins Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood in the Cubs' rotation.

Even with some red flags, Darvish is a huge addition for a team that will compete for another World Series in 2018. The deal was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The Cubs wanted to bolster the front end of their rotation after losing to the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series in 2017. Before he toes the rubber for the first time with the team days from now in Mesa, Arizona, the rest of baseball's top remaining free agents likely will fall like dominos to new teams of their own.

Darvish was outstanding over the final two months of the regular season with the Dodgers, posting a 3.44 ERA and 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings. With Darvish off the board and setting the market price for starting pitchers, it could help wake up the rest of the free agent market with spring training right around the corner. He has never allowed more than three earned runs against an NL Central opponent.

Of course, the last time we saw Darvish he had one of the worst outings of his career in Game 7 of the World Series. The Cubs had the money to sign Darvish, with approximately $30-$35 million to stay under the luxury tax this season.

While it has been several years since Darvish carried both the workload and raw results of a true No. 1, the long and elegant right-hander led a starter market that also included Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, along with Japanese right-hander Shohei Ohtani, who is advertised as a two-way player. Montgomery will likely also be utilized as a spot starter throughout the season, as he was past year when he made 14 starts for the Cubs.

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