Major League Baseball free agent rumors: Cubs, Yu Darvish agree to six-year deal

Darvish joining the rotation also helps the Cubs' bullpen, allowing the team to push Mike Montgomery back into the relief corps and pitch as a middle or long reliever who can help reduce the burden on starting pitchers. He finished the regular season with a 10-12 record and a 3.86 ERA (118 ERA+), striking out 209 batters and walking 58 in 186⅔ innings. Not with the likes of Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw vying for the honors.

With pitchers and catchers set to report to Major League Baseball spring training camps next week (and free agents who haven't signed holding their own training camp in Florida), teams and available players may be getting more serious about agreeing on some deals. The Dodgers and Yankees didn't get Darvish because they're hamstring by their self-imposing payroll limit this coming season (the $197 million luxury tax threshold). I don't want to pressure him too much. They have one of the best rotations in the league now, and they'll complement that with the same young, powerful lineup from a year ago.

The Cubs didn't need to get a whole lot better to be the consensus favorites in the NL Central, but that's exactly what happened. What may be a concern, however, is the fact that Darvish has thrown 2,127 2/3 innings in his professional career, has a Tommy John surgery on his resume and will be with the Cubs in his age 31-36 seasons. Before 2017, Darvish had nine losses in both his 2012 and 2013 campaigns. Darvish's 2017 season had its ups and downs, including a disastrous performance in the World Series, but ultimately he still had a productive year. When it appeared the Rangers would not challenge for a playoff berth, they dealt Darvish at the trade deadline for three minor leaguers, including outfielder Willie Calhoun, one of the Dodgers' top prospects.

The free agent market has been slow-moving all offseason, so while Darvish is now off the board, several quality starters are still on the open market.

David Price (seven years, $217 million with the Boston Red Sox), Kershaw (seven years, $215 million with the Dodgers), Scherzer (seven years, $210 million with the Washington Nationals) and Zack Greinke (six years, $206.5 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks) are the highest-paid pitchers.

Darvish joins the Cubs, which could signal staff ace Jake Arrieta - also still a free agent - is going elsewhere.



Other news