(670 The Score) It was a long wait, but the Cubs have found the new front-line starter they’ve been seeking.
Chicago has agreed to a six-year, $126-million deal with right-hander Yu Darvish, a source confirmed to 670 The Score on Saturday afternoon. Incentives could make it worth up to $150 million, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who first reported news of the agreement. The deal is pending a physical.
After negotiations stalemated for three months in a slow-moving free-agent market, Darvish will fill a top-of-the-rotation slot for the Cubs that was vacated when Jake Arrieta hit free agency. The Cubs remained in discussions with Arrieta and fellow free agent Alex Cobb until the end as well, sources told 670 The Score.
The Cubs didn’t necessarily enter the offseason planning to sign Darvish, but as the market stalled, they became more involved. Cubs officials and Darvish had a face-to-face meeting in the Dallas area on Dec. 18.
The Rangers, Brewers, Twins, Dodgers and Yankees had been the other teams that expressed interest in Darvish, according to reports.
Darvish, 31, was 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.16 WHIP for the Rangers and Dodgers in 2017, when he was dealt to Los Angeles at the deadline. He had a 10.1 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate and a 2.8 walks-per-nine-innings rate. Darvish has a career 3.42 ERA.
Some concern surfaced across baseball regarding Darvish’s performance at the end of the season, as the Astros crushed him twice in the World Series, including the deciding Game 7, but most believed that was because he was tipping his pitches and not anything physical in nature.
Darvish had Tommy John surgery in 2014, then missed all of 2015. He made 17 starts in 2016 and 31 starts in 2017, when he was an All-Star.
Darvish initially signed a six-year, $60-million deal with the Rangers ahead of the 2012 season.
Darvish will give the Cubs one of baseball’s best and deepest rotations, slotting into a group that’s led by ace Jon Lester and also includes Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood, whom the Cubs signed to a three-year deal in December. The addition of Darvish figures to move left-hander Mike Montgomery — who would prefer to start — back into a swingman role as a long reliever, lefty specialist and spot starter.
The addition of Darvish comes just days before the Cubs report to Mesa, Arizona for the start of spring training.
A precursor to the Cubs adding Darvish was their signing of catcher Chris Gimenez recently. Gimenez caught Darvish in Texas and is good friends with him.
Gimenez had been recruiting Darvish to the Cubs.
“I was honest with (Darvish),” Gimenez said in an interview on 670 The Score on Thrusday. “And I think that’s kind of my job as a friend, to kind of lead those guys in the direction where I might feel they have the best opportunity to be successful, because that’s kind of the ultimate goal. He’s going to make the best decision for him.”