Jon Lester has a new Cubs teammate: Yu Darvish

Lynette Rowe
February 11, 2018

The winter-long dance is over.

The deal nearly certainly signals the end of Arrieta's time with the Cubs, a successful run in the Windy City that included a Cy Young award.

The Chicago Cubs signed the free-agent starting pitcher to a six-year contract, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday, citing sources.

The 31-year-old Darvish met with Cubs officials back in December, and the sides remained in contact while the right-hander listened to other potential suitors. Like a slew of other teams, the Cubs didn't meet with Darvish until after they realized his initial price tag wasn't going to be met as the free agent market sputtered. Last October, Darvish beat the Cubs in the National League Championship Series.

Jon Lester signed a six-year, $155 million contract with the Cubs at the same age as Darvish is now, so it would seem as if the mega contracts for pitchers are decreasing.

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Aside from the Yankees trading for Giancarlo Stanton, the Cubs are the clear victor of a slow offseason, signing two starting pitchers, a closer in Brandon Morrow and relief help in Steve Cishek and Brian Duensing.

That's not quite a top-10 fantasy starting pitcher, but since Darvish's late signing date did begin to worry me regarding his 2018 prospects, that he signed in about the most favorable situation one could at this stage restores him to where he began the offseason, as my No. 13 starter between Justin Verlander and Chris Archer. He shut down the Cubs in Game 3 of the NLCS, striking out seven while pitching 6 ⁄3 innings of one-run ball in a 6-1 victory at Wrigley Field.

But Darvish was hit hard in the World Series against Houston, managing just five outs in each of his two starts - including a loss in Game 7 - and there was talk he was tipping his pitches.

The four-time All-Star has had injury problems, missing the 2015 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Darvish, 31, is coming off a solid 2017 campaign where he pitched to a 3.86 ERA and an outstanding 209-58 K/BB ratio over 31 starts between the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Dodgers. So they may not have been able to move enough salary to get a deal done.

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