His waiting paid out, as Yu Darvish signs a deal that could be worth $150 million in total (with incentives) if all things go well for him.
The Cubs also sprinkled some hints at a possible Darvish signing when they brought in Chris Gimenez on a minor league deal. Regardless of how you order them, a staff including Hendricks, Darvish, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood ranks among the best in the National League.
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The addition of Darvish gives the Cubs a big boost as they try to return to the World Series after winning the title two years ago for the first time since 1908. Saturday, news broke by The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal that Darvish would be headed to Chicago, pending a physical. He allowed four earned runs in 1.2 innings in each start.
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. Fangraphs Steamer Projections have Darvish posting 3.6 WAR and a 3.82 ERA in 179 innings this season.
It took all winter, but the Cubs have acquired a top-of-the-line starting pitcher. 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. For one things, Darvish was famously awful in the World Series previous year, and his two bad performances - whether they were because of a slider-proof baseball or because he was tipping his offspeed pitches - probably cost the Dodgers a World Series title. Darvish made two postseason starts for the Rangers, one each in 2012 and 2016, and lost them both. In his final three regular-season starts, his ERA was 0.47 with 21 strikeouts and one walk. After year three, he made three straight All-Star games. Some believe that Darvish signing will free up the logjam of other free agents - but that's no certainty, since there really are only a handful of free agents that approach his value.