The Chicago Cubs and RHP Yu Darvish have agreed to a six-year deal, worth $126 million, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The contract includes incentives with the ability to make the deal worth $150 million. The deal is pending a physical.
In what is the quietest and slowest offseason in Major League Baseball history, Darvish signing with the Cubs could be the first of many dominos to fall. With the Cubs signing Darvish, it appears that free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta will not return to the Windy City.
Darvish will join a rotation filled with all-stars, including Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, and Kyle Hendricks. It is unclear who will be the ace in the Cubs' rotation, but it is likely Darvish will be considered the front-runner.
With General Manager Theo Epstein and company signing Darvish, it gives the Cubs a boost over the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals, who both have become even stronger with several acquisitions this offseason. The Cubs will open the season as National League Central favorites.
Darvish, 31, split time between the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers last season. Darvish started the season quite shaky with the Rangers, then after he was dealt to LA during the trade deadline, Darvish finished the season with a 3.86 ERA in 31 games started. Darvish was tough to get a hit off of in the second half of the season, and finished the season with 7.7 H/9 and 10.1 K/9.
Since signing with the Rangers out of Japan in 2012, Darvish has a career ERA of 3.42. Darvish owns a career record of 56-42 and a total of 1021 strikeouts in five major league seasons. Darvish sat out the 2015 season and half of the 2016 season due to Tommy John Surgery.
The Chicago Cubs should give right-handed reliever Carl Edwards Jr. a shot at the closer role next season. Current closer Wade Davis will be a free agent entering this offseason.
Edwards Jr, 24, impressed the Cubs' organization this season. He went 5-4, with a 2.98 ERA in 73 relief appearances. He pitched in 66.1 innings and struck out 94 batters. The former 48th round pick turned into relief ace opened some eye lids this season and he is a huge contribution the Cubs' pitching success this season.
The Cubs' current closer Wade Davis pitched phenomenally this season too, but the 2017 all-star is expected to hit free agency this offseason and ask for Kenley Jansen type money. Davis, who is 32 years old, went 4-2 this season with 32 saves in 59 relief appearances. Davis also had a 2.30 ERA and struck out 79 batters in 58.2 innings.
Even though Davis had a splendid season as the Cubbies' closer, I believe they should let him walk and give Edwards Jr a shot next season.
First of all, Edwards is under team control until after the 2022 season. This would solve their closer question for years to come. Also, Edwards just turned 24 years old days ago, so he has a fresh and young arm. Edwards has pitched in the major leagues at different points over the past three seasons. The 2017 season was Edwards' first full season in the big leagues.
Edwards would save the Cubs millions of dollars if they choose to let Davis walk. The $7-12 million they can save this offseason for by not resigning Wade Davis can go towards starting pitching or an expensive trade target, such as Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton or Nationals' Bryce Harper (although he is likely to not be on the trade block).
Edwards is a fan favorite in Chicago. The fans would approve Edwards' transition into the closer role. His stats this season should impress the fans of the 2016 World Champions.
Internally, the Cubs' front office drafted Edwards Jr. so they know him and his mechanics well.
All we can do is speculate until Wade Davis signs either with the Cubs or a new team.
The Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox completed an inter-city blockbuster trade that will send LHP Jose Quintana to the Cubs. The Cubs will send top prospects OF Eloy Jimenez and RHP Dylan Cease to the White Sox, with infielders Bryant Flete and Matt Rose.
The Cubs have played a relatively disappointing season compared to how they played last year when the won their first World Series in 108 years. Today's acquisition shows that the Cubs are looking to have a strong second half of the season in their attempt to reach the postseason. The Cubs are 43-45 and sit in second place in the National League Central, 5.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers.
The White Sox entering the trade had a top-five farm system, and now after acquiring the Cubs' top two prospects, they arguably have the best farm system in baseball.
Quintana, 28, is under club control until after the 2020 season. He is 4-8 in 18 starts this season, with an ERA of 4.49. Quintana is a very durable starter, pitching more than 200 innings during the past four seasons.
Jimenez, 20, in 42 games in Low-A Myrtle Beach, is batting .271 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs. Jimenez is the eighth highest ranked prospect in baseball on MLB.com's ranking of the top 100 prospects.
Cease, 21, has a fastball that can reach the high 90's. In High-A South Bend, Cease is 1-2 in 13 starts with a 2.79 ERA. Cease is ranked as MLB.com's 63rd best prospect in baseball.
The Toronto Blue Jays acquired Miguel Montero and cash considerations from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later.
Montero, 33, was DFA'd last week after he made critical comments regarding starter Jake Arrieta. Montero caught Arrieta in his start against the Nationals last week, when the Cubs allowed the Nats to steal seven bases.
Montero told reporters post game that Arrieta was slow to the plate and that is why he struggled defensively that evening.
Montero has played back up to Wilson Contreras all season, despite hitting .286 with four home runs in 44 games.
Montero will be making $14 million this season and the Cubs are expected to pick up around $7 million.
The two-time all-star will play back up to Russell Martin in Toronto, which is a huge upgrade over their current back up catcher, Luke Maile.