Although Kris Bryant has been the focal place of most Cubs trade speculation this wintertime, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets that right-hander Yu Darvish’s identify “seems out there in trade talks,” while he cautions that it could be tiny more than a matter of because of diligence as the Cubs keep an open up mind. Heyman provides that he spoke to a pair of executives with two other clubs, neither of whom expects a trade to finally appear with each other.
All of that mentioned, it’s worthy of breaking down the Darvish situation a bit much more extensively. 1st and foremost, it is not stunning to see Darvish or any other significant-priced Cubs participant pop up on the rumor circuit. Variations to the team’s main appeared inevitable heading into the present offseason, provided the dwindling manage remaining for so many essential gamers. The Cubs previously non-tendered Kyle Schwarber, and ESPN’s Buster Olney documented in mid-November that the Cubs had been at minimum open up to talks on “almost” any veteran participant on their club. Even prior to that, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes laid out the risk of a Darvish trade in his Offseason Outlook for the Cubs.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has publicly lamented his deficiency of readily available methods, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the connected profits losses. Although couple of admirers sympathize substantially with Ricketts’ efforts to make clear the plight of the misunderstood MLB operator, his recurring feedback are continue to noteworthy and have been mirrored in the team’s steps — or lack thereof. The Cubs’ lone major signing courting back again to the 2018-19 offseason has been an in-period offer for Craig Kimbrel, which only arrived to go immediately after Chicago unexpectedly was spared some of its motivation to Ben Zobrist right after the infielder/outfielder still left the club for own reasons. Outside of that, the Cubs’ mixed spending in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 offseasons totaled just $14.25M.
Offered that context and the actuality that Darvish is owed $62M about the remaining 3 seasons of his deal, it’s only normal that the group would at the very least entertain offers on the righty. On the other hand, even though the Darvish offer seemed like a regrettable, possible albatross agreement following an damage-ruined 2018 season, that is no longer the case — and the inquiring rate in any trade talks would certainly reflect the right-hander’s turnaround.
Considering that that dismal to start with 12 months of the agreement, Darvish has not only bounced back again but pitched at the most helpful amounts of his MLB vocation. In excess of his past 32 starts off, Darvish has tallied 199 2/3 innings of 2.84 Era/3.04 FIP ball with averages of 11.5 strikeouts and 2.4 walks per nine frames. He was dominant in 2020, posting a occupation-ideal 2.01 Period with a 93-to-14 K/BB ratio in 76 innings en route to a next-spot finish in NL Cy Young voting. Darvish also has a 12-group no-trade clause, which could throw a wrench into many probable places.
A trade of Darvish would serve as not only a usually means of shedding payroll at a time when ownership has clearly been on the lookout to suppress paying, but also as a indicates of introducing controllable just as the team’s Earth Series main is on the cusp of disbanding because of to free company. It is quick to envision any package for Darvish beginning with an MLB-all set starter who is controlled for five-additionally seasons, with many high-quality prospective clients and/or young large leaguers then staying added to the equation. Removing the $23M owed to Darvish in 2021 from the payroll could also absolutely free up some means to address other requirements by using no cost company or trade.
Viewed through that lens, a Darvish trade looks simple, if rather painful for a club that has been a standard existence at or in close proximity to the major of the NL Central more than the past half 10 years. On the other hand, that observe report of winning and a nevertheless-talented core underline the argument against buying and selling Darvish absent.
The Cubs might have been bounced from the postseason in astonishing style by an upstart Marlins club in 2020, but this staff nonetheless completed 34-26 and gained the Nationwide League Central. Schwarber’s non-tender aside, the bulk of that division-successful main is intact, and rebounds for some blend of Cubs stars who struggled — Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo — really should be expected.
Investing Darvish unequivocally weakens a roster that continue to seems able of contending in a division that no team appears to be to want to seize. The Pirates are rebuilding. The Cardinals are paring again payroll and mulling regardless of whether they can retain icons Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright. The Reds have slice expenditures significantly in the bullpen and are at the very least listening to features on their prime starters. The Brewers aren’t envisioned to spend aggressively.
Some diploma of turnover and adjust on the Chicago roster however appears really plausible, but it’s also possible that a ongoing deficiency of aggression in St. Louis, Cincinnati and Milwaukee could motivate the Cubs to preserve the bulk of their main intact, recognizing that the NL Central appears to be mainly up for grabs. The Cubs now challenge to carry a payroll of about $157M, for every Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez, with only about $164M of luxurious-tax concerns on the books at the moment.