Cubs Reach 6-Year Deal With Yu Darvish

The deal for Darvish, 31, includes incentives, which mean he could make up to $150 million over the life of the contract.

If Darvish is "only" making $21 million per year (on average) in this deal, it's a relative steal for the Cubs, who let Jake Arrieta and John Lackey walk in free agency and signed Tyler Chatwood to a three-year $38 million deal.

Last season, Darvish pitched 186 2/3 innings with a 3.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 209 strikeouts.

But for Fantasy Baseball purposes, I'm more interested in the other side of the coin: The Cubs chose Darvish.

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One of the big appeals to Darvish, aside from being one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball, was the fact that he was not eligible to receive a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, and because of that he had no draft pick compensation tied to him. Saturday, news broke by The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal that Darvish would be headed to Chicago, pending a physical.

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.

After almost an entire winter of speculation and reports connected Darvish with the Twins and several other clubs, the best available free agent starter chose to take his talents to the North side of Chicago.

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.

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According to ESPN Stats & Information, Darvish has a 2.42 ERA in eight career starts against the NL Central, including the postseason.

With Jon Lester and Jose Quintana at the top, the Cubs still needed one more starter to assemble a strong top three to compete with the Dodgers and Nationals for the National League pennant.

Whether the Cubs and team president Theo Epstein admit this or not, the team probably wasn't expecting to sign a free agent of Darvish's caliber - and price tag - going into the offseason. His record 0.75 ERA after the All-Star break that year made him a Bunyanesque legend.

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.

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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.