The Chicago Cubs have signed free-agent pitcher Yu Darvish.
Clarification: Darvish six-year guarantee with #Cubs is $126M with ability to get to $150M, according to sources.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 10, 2018
Darvish, 31, is coming off his first full season after having Tommy John surgery as a member of the Texas Rangers in March of 2015. The four-time All-Star came back in 2016, made 17 starts and pitched 100.1 innings, with a 3.41 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Finally being able to pitch a full year, Darvish finished the 2017 season with a 3.86 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. He struggled in the World Series against the Houston Astros, but that has been attributed to Darvish tipping his pitches.
Yet, Darvish proved to be a great addition for the Los Angeles Dodgers, making nine starts after his trade and posting a 3.44 ERA in 49.2 innings. Then, before the World Series disaster, the Japanese star tossed a combined 11.1 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cubs, allowing a two runs, with 14 strikeouts and 1 walk in the NLDS and NLCS, respectively.
As you’ll see in the following chart, Darvish’s fastball velocity has gone up a tick since the Tommy John surgery.
You can check out more stats from FanGraphs here.
So, the Cubs starting rotation now looks A LOT stronger with the addition of Darvish, as Tyler Chatwood who was signed earlier in the offseason, will be slotted as the No. 5 starter behind Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and of course Darvish.
This also means that the Cubs bullpen gets better because Mike Montgomery isn’t going to be in the rotation, although he could still give the other guys an occasional day off and be a spot starter during the season.
So, what do you think Cubs fans, love the move, hate it? Wish Jake Arrieta was back? Let us know!