Yu Darvish turned down Dodgers to join Cubs

Doug Mendoza
February 11, 2018

The Cubs are set to enter the season with a rotation of Darvish, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood. "Obviously, I've made my sales pitch".

But it gets better.

Darvish was 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA in 31 starts last season. He was, at times, the pitcher who was second - to Max Scherzer - in the 2013 AL Cy Young balloting, and then oddly vulnerable in the strike zone.

It's worth noting that Darvish had a very poor showing in the 2017 World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers, thanks in part to tipping his pitches. The Cubs won the World Series in 2016 before losing in five games to the Dodgers in the 2017 NLCS.

The Rangers have five starters - Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Doug Fister, Matt Moore and Mike Minor - only three days before pitchers and catchers report for spring training. Six postseason starts, 2.57 ERA.

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Darvish is also a top-20 Major League Baseball pitcher in that time in ERA (3.42) and Fielding-Independent Pitching metrics. Darvish's primary gains by landing with the Cubs is premium run support and a boost in terms of strikeouts, considering he spent much of his USA career pitching at Texas' Globe Life Park, which severely deflates them.

The free agent market has been slow-moving all offseason, so while Darvish is now off the board, several quality starters are still on the open market. A pitcher with a 3.70 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and a 28.8 percent K rate since his March 2015 Tommy John surgery, Darvish shouldn't have much trouble repeating the ratios, perhaps shaving a quarter-run off his ERA and finishing with a K rate right around 30 percent, meaning a good 200 strikeouts if he stays healthy again.

The same source said that the Texas Rangers, the team that brought Darvish from Japan in 2012 and traded him away July 31, were "not even close" in their pursuit of the right-hander who has made his home in Dallas and was interested in a reunion.

David Price (seven years, $217 million with the Boston Red Sox), Kershaw (seven years, $215 million with the Dodgers), Scherzer (seven years, $210 million with the Washington Nationals) and Zack Greinke (six years, $206.5 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks) are the highest-paid pitchers. But it apparently completes the team's mission of fortifying their rotation with free agents Jake Arrieta and John Lackey departing.

Other reports by GizPress

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