Star free agent pitcher Yu Darvish is heading to the north side of Chicago.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has reported that starting pitcher Yu Darvish has signed a six-year, $126 million deal with the Chicago Cubs. It’s been a long, slow offseason up until this point. Darvish is the first major free agent to come off the board this winter.
BREAKING: Yu Darvish to #Cubs, six year-deal in $150M range, sources tell The Athletic. Pending physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 10, 2018
Rosenthal reports that Darvish’s deal guarantees $126 million, but could get up to $150 million through incentives. Either way, that makes this the richest contract of this offseason.
Darvish was arguably the best free agent on the market this year along with starting pitcher Jake Arrieta. The Cubs were thought to be out of the mix for Arrieta ever since the 2017 season ended. Now a reunion is almost certainly out of the question.
The Cubs’ rotation now appears to be set. And it looks like the best in the NL Central. Darvish’s 2017 season had its ups and downs, including a disastrous performance in the World Series, but ultimately he still had a productive year. The 31-year-old went 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA with both the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Dodgers may have also had a six-year deal on the table but couldn’t quite match the dollar amount the Cubs offered. Los Angeles is committed to staying under the luxury tax threshold this year. So they may not have been able to move enough salary to get a deal done.
Over the course of his five-year career, Darvish has pitched to the tune of a 3.42 ERA with a 1.148 WHIP, 3.38 FIP and an 11 SO/9 ratio. He’s regarded as having one of the best sliders in the league.
With Darvish off the board, the top remaining unsigned pitchers include Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb.