Cubs land Yu Darvish on six-year deal

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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 USA media sources reported Saturday.

The deal includes an opt-out clause and no-trade protection along with escalators that could push the deal to $150 million. Darvish, a free agent, signed a six-year deal with the Cubs Saturday.

One pitcher who appears to have disappeared off the radar for most teams is Jake Arrieta the right-hander who formerly played with the Chicago Cubs. 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. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report the deal.

Darvish finished last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, helping them knock out the defending champion Cubs in the playoffs to reach the World Series. He shut down the Cubs in Game 3 of the NLCS, striking out seven while pitching 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a 6-1 victory at Wrigley Field.

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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.

The right-hander made 31 starts past year between the Rangers and Dodgers, pitching to a 3.86 ERA with a near-identical 3.83 FIP. However, the Dodgers are hoping to stay under the luxury tax threshold in 2018 and couldn't clear enough money in order to afford Darvish. What lasts in Los Angeles, however, are the two failed World Series starts, two losses that, coupled with a dismal Game 5 start from Kershaw, doomed the Dodgers. The Cubs were seventh in Major League Baseball last season in starter ERA. He made 17 starts in 2016 and 31 starts in 2017, when he was an All-Star. 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.

But it could certainly be true that the only teams in the market for expensive free-agent talent are those intending to compete for World Series championships.