The biggest free agent signing of the offseason just happened yesterday. Yu Darvish has agreed to a 6 year/$126 million dollar contract with the Chicago Cubs. This deal could potentially be worth $150 million due to some incentives that are also a part of Darvish’s contract.
After the 2017 season, the Cubs lost two of their starting pitchers to free agency, John Lackey and Jake Arrieta. The Cubs replaced Lackey by signing Tyler Chatwood, but had yet to sign a significant pitcher to replace Arrieta. That is where Darvish comes in.
Darvish is most likely going to slot into the rotation after Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester due to the decline that he experienced last year. He did not have a terrible 2017 campaign, though. While he may have struggled through the first half of the season with the Texas Rangers, reaching a 4.01 ERA and 6-9 record, he steadily improved after the trade deadline. Darvish started to look more like himself as he had a 3.44 ERA and a 4-3 record through 9 starts with the Dodgers. Even as he progressed through the postseason, he flashed signs of his All-Star caliber form by having below a 2.00 ERA in both the NLDS and NLCS.
The main problem with Darvish comes with his World Series performance. The Houston Astros found out early that he was tipping his pitches. This led Darvish to have a 21.60 ERA through only 3.1 innings. He would proceed to lose the two games that he started, including game 7 of the Fall Classic.
I can understand why this would be a deterrent for most fans, and maybe even some MLB teams. Tipping pitches is one of the worst mistakes you can make in baseball. I also believe that it is a simple fix. The Cubs’ pitching coach, Jim Hickey, will most likely make this his number one concern with Darvish and find a way to fix the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible. Not to mention, Darvish has most likely been working hard during the offseason to fix the problem on his own as well.
With the correct adjustments, Darvish could easily be a top of the line #3 starter. I would expect around a 3.25 ERA and at least 14 wins from him in 2018. With a rotation of Hendricks, Lester, Darvish, Quintana, and Chatwood, the Cubs are set to have another dominant season.
By: Logan Stevens (@Round_TheBases)