It’s been a painfully slow offseason. But rumors around free agent Yu Darvish are starting to ramp up.
According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, Yu Darvish is “increasingly likely” to pick a new team some time this week. Darvish is arguably the most sought-after free agent on the market this year.
Darvish, along with Jake Arrieta, are the top starting pitchers in this free agent class. But just a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring camp, neither one has signed with a new team. Darvish has been linked to a number of teams since his free agency began, but each rumor was either shot down or eventually faded into obscurity.
Several teams appear to still be in the mix for the 31-year-old right-hander. Darvish’s first team, the Texas Rangers, figure to be a part of the conversation. But having just traded him away last season and given the fact they missed the playoffs in 2017, Texas doesn’t look like the best fit.
One of the surprise teams of 2017, the Milwaukee Brewers have also thrown their hat into the ring. They reportedly made an offer to Darvish, but there’s been no word as to whether or not there is mutual interest on his end.
Though Darvish had a disastrous World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Dodgers should still be one of the favorites to land him. We know the Dodgers have the funds to get him. They’re also positioned as a win-now team likely to come out on top again in the NL West. And Darvish is now familiar with the organization. So the fit makes sense for both sides.
But there is an even better suitor out there — the Chicago Cubs.
Like the Dodgers, the Cubs are also fully capable of paying Darvish the elite salary he has coming. Chicago didn’t fare well at all against the Dodgers in the NLCS last season, but they’re once again the clear favorites to win the NL Central. And with Jake Arrieta unlikely to return to the North Side, they could use another ace-type starter to round out their rotation.
The Cubs also have another potentially huge advantage on their side. They’ve recently signed veteran catcher Chris Gimenez to a minor league deal. That’s significant because Gimenez spent some time catching Darvish when the two were teammates in Texas. It may not mean as much as some think, but for the Cubs, it certainly can’t hurt.
Darvish went 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 186 2/3 innings with the Rangers and Dodgers last season. It’s still up in the air, but the Chicago Cubs look like the best destination for the star Japanese pitcher.