In what was a historically slow offseason across Major League Baseball, arguably the top free agent did not come off the board until Spring Training camps were set to open with the arrival of pitchers and catchers. Yu Darvish signed a six-year contract with the Chicago Cubs, ending any possibility of re-signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
With their desire to remain below the $197 million luxury tax threshold this season, the Dodgers ultimately couldn’t work out a deal with the right-hander, despite interest from both sides in a reunion.
Darvish was acquired by Los Angeles at the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline with a clear eye on the postseason. While the 31-year-old excelled in both starts against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cubs, he struggled mightily in two World Series outings, which reportedly made some officials in the Dodgers’ upper brass hesistant of re-signing him.
Now that Darvish is bound for the North Side, ZiPS projects him to have an outstanding 2018 campaign but with some drop off as the lifetime of the contract plays out, via Dan Szymborski of ESPN:
With the Texas Rangers and Dodgers Last season, Darvish went a combined 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA, 3.83 FIP and 1.16 WHIP in 31 starts. It was his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2015.
Darvish anticipates he’ll be improved this year, as he becomes further removed from the operation. Darvish is moving to one of the more hitter-friendly divisions in the National League, so success could be a little more difficult to come by compared to the second half of last season.
Though they’ve lost an ace-caliber pitcher and Brandon Morrow to the Cubs, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts remain confident in his team’s starting rotation and overall pitching staff.