In what has been an unusual offseason, the top starting pitcher on the free agent market, Yu Darvish, is one of several players that remain unsigned with less than a week until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.
Darvish is not still a free agent due to lack of interest, though, as the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees have all been reported as being in pursuit to some extent this offseason.
Part of the reason Darvish has yet to sign is believed that be that he is holding out for a possible return to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The club would need to clear a significant amount of salary to even get in the neighborhood of re-signing Darvish due to their desire to remain below the luxury tax threshold.
Meanwhile, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, another factor is Darvish that he hasn’t received the contract offer he is seeking, although several teams have made him five-year offers:
Darvish has several teams who have offered five-year deals, and he would like to at least get the six-year, $130 million contract that Johnny Cueto received two years ago with the San Francisco Giants.
It was also recently reported that Darvish is looking for a contract similar to what Stephen Strasburg signed with the Washington Nationals, which was for seven years and $175 million.
Long-term contracts have been hard to come by this winter, with Lorenzo Cain’s five-year, $80 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers being the only deal longer than three years signed so far. So that could be why Darvish has dropped his asking price from seven to six years.
With Spring Training just around the corner, Darvish is expected to be the first big free agent on the starting pitching market to sign, and then those that miss out of him may shift their focus to the likes of Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn.