Sunday, 18 February, 2018

Yu Darvish agrees to $126 million cope with Chicago Cubs

MLB pitcher Jake Arrieta USA TODAY Sports Images
Cassandra Gardner | 11 February, 2018, 05:10

The Chicago Cubs and free agent ace pitcher Yu Darvish have agreed to a six-year, $126 million deal, a source confirmed to ESPN's Jesse Rogers.

Rosenthal reports that Darvish's deal guarantees $126 million, but could get up to $150 million through incentives. It is by far the biggest contract signed among this year's free agents, and comes in $29 million less than Lester's six-year contract signed prior to the 2015 season. Obviously, they named a price Darvish was happy with and the Cubs look like an even stronger World Series contender than they did 24 hours ago. The Rangers, Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers reportedly were interested in signing him, but the Cubs seem to have won the race for his services. The choice to give Darvish a sixth guaranteed year undoubtedly went a long way toward the Cubs' winning the bidding. The Cubs had a great opportunity to sign the best starting pitcher on the market and they took it. The 31-year-old right-hander was among the top players available in a slow-moving free agent market this winter. Of course, for Los Angeles to make that happen and stay under the luxury tax, they would have to make several payroll-cutting moves. Since undergoing surgery, Darvish has a record of 17-17, with a 3.64 ERA, in 287 innings pitched, and 341 strikeouts in 48 starts. Late in the 2017 season he was very good, compiling an ERA of 1.69 with close to 40 more strikeouts than walks in his 11 starts between July and August.

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After a 103-win 2016 season that culminated in a World Series title, the Cubs won 11 fewer games previous year and lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series, but will enter 2018 with a projected rotation of Darvish, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood, which will rank among the best in the league.

Last season, the Chicago Cubs were within two games of another World Series appearance. Still, Darvish probably deserved a little more, and he fell short of the predictions that both Jon Heyman and a baseball insider made at the start of the offseason. After year three, he made three straight All-Star games.

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