Yu Darvish agrees to 6-year, $126M deal with Cubs

Clyde Nash
February 11, 2018

The deal will be worth $126 million, with incentives making it worth up to $150 million, Rosenthal reported.

After almost an entire winter of speculation and reports connected Darvish with the Twins and several other clubs, the best available free agent starter chose to take his talents to the North side of Chicago.

Darvish, 31, in essence replaces Jake Arrieta in the Cubs' rotation, beside Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and, presumably, Tyler Chatwood.

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He has averaged 11 strikeouts per nine innings over his career, which is the highest ratio in Major League Baseball history for pitchers with more than 100 career starts - ranking just ahead of Randy Johnson and Chris Sale, who are tied for second at 10.6.

However, Darvish comes with more risk beyond having his right elbow surgically repaired. Fangraphs Steamer Projections have Darvish posting 3.6 WAR and a 3.82 ERA in 179 innings this season. Theo Epstein has turned the Cubs into one of - if not the - prime free agent destination during his tenure. However, the Dodgers are hoping to stay under the luxury tax threshold in 2018 and couldn't clear enough money in order to afford Darvish.

Darvish, 31, split last season between the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers - getting his first taste of World Series action with the latter.

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The righty starter has also made six postseason starts, has a record of 2-4, recorded an ERA of 5.81, struck out 25 batters, and threw 26.1 innings pitched. Darvish gave up one run in 6 1/3 innings against the Cubs in the NLCS last season, but got lit up (eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings over two starts) by the Houston Astros in the World Series, as he was purportedly tipping his pitches. Montgomery will likely also be utilized as a spot starter throughout the season, as he was a year ago when he made 14 starts for the Cubs.

Despite today's news, Cubs fans almost thought they had signed the Japanese pitcher a little over a month ago. Considering that they've sold $168 million in World Series Championship sweatshirts just to guys named Keith over the last two years, there's probably a little more payroll flexibility to work with. The former two showed only tepid interest due to their commitment to staying under the fake salary cap, and the latter two are likely going to focus on the remaining free agent starters - Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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