After months of talks and speculation, the Cubs have agreed to terms with free agent starter Yu Darvish on a six-year deal, a source confirmed.
The Los Angeles Dodgers weren't put off by Yu Darvish's World Series struggles as they tried to retain the starter. He dominated the Cubs in the NLCS, pitching into the seventh and allowing just one run in his lone start in the series. But it apparently completes the team's mission of fortifying their rotation with free agents Jake Arrieta and John Lackey departing.
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.
An All-Star in each of his four full seasons (he missed all of 2015 and part of 2016 because of Tommy John surgery), Darvish in 131 career starts is 56-42 with a 3.42 ERA. Among major league pitchers with at least 180 innings, he ranked 14th in ERA, ninth in WHIP, eighth in strikeouts per nine and 12th in strikeouts per walk.
He'll likely slot into the Cubs rotation either as the team's ace or their number two. He was, at times, the pitcher who was second - to Max Scherzer - in the 2013 AL Cy Young balloting, and then oddly vulnerable in the strike zone. Incentives could help Darvish reach $150 million in total earnings. As much as I love him, I don't see that happening. The next few names on that list are Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale, Stephen Strasburg, Corey Kluber, Chris Archer and Madison Bumgarner.
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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.
Milwaukee reportedly pitched a $100-plus offer to Darvish recently, which he turned down.
Cubs president Theo Epstein just might find himself on another Fortune Magazine cover after all. Los Angeles is committed to staying under the luxury tax threshold this year. His addition will keep Mike Montgomery in the bullpen for now, but since he performs a little better in that role it may be the best thing for the team. A team like the Cubs will be gunning to win it all this year, and they'll count on Darvish to help win some big games.
With so many free agents still unsigned at this unprecedented late date, many of them plan on conducting their own spring training camp in Bradenton, Fla., starting next week.