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The Chicago Cubs and free agent ace pitcher Yu Darvish have reached an agreement on a six year, $126 million contract, multiple US media sources reported Saturday. Rosenthal added that incentive clauses could boost the contract's value up to $150 million.
This signing is exactly what the Cubs needed to do to beef up their roster, and the inclusion of Darvish should help the team navigate through what has become a much more interesting NL Central division.
Even with some red flags, Darvish is a huge addition for a team that will compete for another World Series in 2018.
On Friday, one report said that if Arrieta were ever to give up pursuit of signing a long-term deal during this ultra-slow market, there are several teams highly interested in talking to him about a short-term high salary deal. Darvish is the first major free agent to come off the board this winter.
An All-Star in each of his four full seasons (he missed all of 2015 and part of 2016 because of Tommy John surgery), Darvish in 131 career starts is 56-42 with a 3.42 ERA.
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With so many free agents still unsigned at this unprecedented late date, many of them plan on conducting their own spring training camp in Bradenton, Florida, starting next week.
In the World Series, however, he was roughed up in both of his starts against the Houston Astros (8 earned runs in 3 1/3 innings) and he took the loss in the decisive Game 7.
Despite today's news, Cubs fans almost thought they had signed the Japanese pitcher a little over a month ago.
The Cubs wanted to bolster the front end of their rotation after losing to the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series in 2017.
At 31 years old, Darvish no longer looks like the ace he was at his best in 2013 when he finished second in AL Cy Young voting. The top remaining free agent starting pitchers available are Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn.
Still, the Cubs are banking on those two starts being anomalies, and Darvish will join a rotation that also features Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, and Tyler Chatwood.
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