Cubs reportedly sign Darvish to a six-year deal

11 February 2018, 03:53 | Kristine Mills

Modal Trigger Yu Darvish AP

Cubs land Yu Darvish cement World Series contender status

His performance at the end of last season likely contributed to those icy waters, so two years of strong performance would help, too. Darvish, a free agent, signed a six-year deal with the Cubs Saturday.

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.

Darvish, 31, is a four-time all-star who split last season between the Texas Rangers and Dodgers, famously imploding for the latter in a pair of ugly, brief starts during the World Series.

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The Cubs can't discuss Darvish until he passes a physical, but you wonder how their shrewd move of signing his personal catcher with the Rangers affected the pitcher's thinking. Those first two rounds, it was smooth sailing for him and the Dodgers.

It's worth noting that Darvish had a very poor showing in the 2017 World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers, thanks in part to tipping his pitches. 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. He let the Astros bat.474 and was torched for nine total runs. He was top 10 in the Cy Young and 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting in 2012. His 2.71 ERA ranks second and his.203 opponent average is third-lowest. Arrieta forever will occupy a place in the hearts of Cubs fans, but Epstein and Hoyer listened to their heads, which told them Darvish projected as a more elite pitcher over the next five years. Spring training in Mesa, about to get a lot busier as the Japanese media and the national reporters will decamp to Sloan Park to take the temperature of the restocked 2016 World Series champions. He struck out 209 batters in 186.2 innings, and posted a 1.16 WHIP on the year. He did manage to make this past season's Midsummer Classic.

The deal with Darvish came after the Cubs agreed to a minor league contract with Chris Gimenez, who regularly caught Darvish while they were in Texas and developed a trusted working relationship with the pitcher. The final spot will be a Springtime competition between newly-acquired Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery. Over the past two seasons the Cubs have made significant pre-deadline deals to improve their staff, so if new closer Brandon Morrow doesn't work out or the injury bug hits their starting staff they still have some recourse before October.

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