The Chicago Cubs formally announced the signing of Yu Darvish to a six-year contract. His deal is worth a reported guarantee of $126 million, with incentives allowing for the total value to reach $150 million.
Darvish received an opt-out clause after the 2019 season and no-trade protection for the first four years in the pact. With the right-hander in the fold, the Cubs now boast one of the Majors’ more formidable starting rotations as the group includes Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood.
The signing also fills the void left by Jake Arrieta and puts to bed what had been a peculiar offseason for Darvish. While he ultimately fared well in the end, the 31-year-old faced a historically slow MLB free agency.
That being said, there didn’t appear to be any shortage of interest, with the Cubs, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers among the teams to check in with the right-hander.
The Dodgers are believed to also have made a six-year contract offer to Darvish, but the value was lower than that of the Cubs and hinged on Los Angeles managing to shed salary elsewhere. The Dodgers are one of several teams aiming to remain below the luxury tax threshold this season.
Indications are Darvish himself had an interest in a reunion, which factored into his not signing with a club until a few days before pitchers and catchers are due to report for Spring Training.
In 31 combined starts for the Dodgers and Rangers last season, Darvish went 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA, 3.99 FIP and 1.17 WHIP.
He was lights-out through two starts in the playoffs, including limiting the Cubs to one run on six hits while striking out seven over 6.1 innings at Wrigley Field in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.
But Darvish imploded in the World Series, recording just five outs in each of his two starts against the Houston Astros, and allowing a combined nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits. Darvish suffered the loss in Game 3 and a decided Game 7.
He joins Brandon Morrow as pitchers who have signed with the Cubs after proving key to the Dodgers reaching the World Series.