The Cubs Got Yu Darvish. Now What?
The Cubs have signed Yu Darvish to a six-year contract worth a max value of $150 million. $126 million is guaranteed money. The deal was first reported by Ken Rosenthal (The Atlantic), and confirmed by ESPN. It may have taken until February 10th, but the Cubs signed the biggest fish in the free agent pond. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer weren’t too keen on giving Darvish a six-year deal, but they got the deal done. The most significant aspect of the agreement is the fact that Darvish can opt out of his contract after the 2019 season, so honestly, I think giving Darvish a chance to enter the free agent market again was the most intriguing part of the deal.
So what do the Cubs look like with Yu Darvish?
I think the Cubs’ starting rotation to start the season will be Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks, and Tyler Chatwood. Look I get it, Kyle Hendricks is transforming into CY Young quality pitcher, so he should be a top three starter. It makes sense, but I just think it would be very wise to separate the two lefties. That way the Cubs will be sending at least one left-handed starter in every series. Let’s face it, where you located in the rotation doesn’t mean a thing. I expect Hendricks to have a much statistical season then Quintana, but I just believe that spacing out the two lefties is better for matchups in every series during the regular season.
The Cubs added Darvish, but what about the rest of the pitching staff?
If the Cubs weren’t able to sign a Yu Darvish, a Jake Arrieta, or an Alex Cobb or sign or acquire another pitcher, Mike Montgomery would most likely become the fifth starter with Tyler Chatwood as the number four. However, Mike Montgomery is still going to play a significant role on the Cubs’ pitching staff. Darvish is just three years removed from Tommy John surgery and has shown an inability to stay healthy over the past few seasons, so Montgomery will act as a sort of an insurance policy in case something goes wrong with Darvish or any other member of the starting rotation. Plus he has proven to be a solid option out of the bullpen, so even though he isn’t starting, he’s going to play a more significant role in 2018 than some people may think.
Is Yu Darvish worth what the Cubs are paying him?
A six-year $126 million contract is a considerable and relatively risky investment for a pitcher who is just three years removed from Tommy John surgery, and who has had well documented postseason struggles, but I think the Cubs did the right thing. With the addition of Darvish, the Cubs went from having a good rotation to having one of the best rotations in the National League if not all of baseball. We obviously won’t know if it was the right move until Darvish takes the mound in a Cubs’ jersey, but on the surface, it was the right move, and it was a transaction that needed to be made. Thankfully, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have a solid, proven record of making the right move when they’ve needed to, so I trust them, and hopefully, the signing of Yu Darvish will put the Cubs over the top so that they can claim another World Series.