A significant someone, too, and with a team that is sure to beef up his fantasy baseball headlines, as Yu Darvish reportedly fetched a $126 million guarantee over the next six seasons from the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. Six postseason starts, 2.57 ERA. There is an opt-out clause included in the contract, and performance clauses can push the deal up to $150 million. It's the biggest free-agent contract signed in an offseason dominated by a lack of movement. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report the deal. This group of starting pitchers now ranks as arguably the top rotation in all of baseball, and several of them have what it takes to be the front man and toe the rubber on Opening Day. The former two showed only tepid interest due to their commitment to staying under the fake salary cap, and the latter two are likely going to focus on the remaining free agent starters - Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb. Darvish gave up one run in 6 1/3 innings against the Cubs in the NLCS last season, but got lit up (eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings over two starts) by the Houston Astros in the World Series, as he was purportedly tipping his pitches. That was three years, one month and 27 days from this writing. He pitched to a 3.86 ERA last season with the Rangers (22 starts) and Dodgers (nine starts).
Well, we finally have a big free agent signing and a contract of over $100 million. The Cubs are set to enter the season with a rotation of Darvish, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood.
Even with some red flags, Darvish is a huge addition for a team that will compete for another World Series in 2018.
If pitchers like Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb were going to cost $20 million per season (the market probably won't yield that kind of deal for them now), the Cubs figured it was worth paying just a bit more to get Darvish. 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.