Chicago Cubs set to meet again with Yu Darvish on Tuesday?
By Jake Misener
After a lengthy meeting on Monday, the Chicago Cubs’ top brass will reportedly sit down with free agent right-hander Yu Darvish again on Tuesday in Texas.
After Alex Cobb reportedly sought a deal with a $20 million AAV, the Chicago Cubs circled around the remaining top free agent arms like vultures, waiting to pounce. And, on Monday, they singled out a target in the right-hander Yu Darvish.
In a face-to-face meeting that spanned nearly three-and-a-half hours, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer sat down with Darvish. The Japanese hurler himself sent out a series of tweets detailing said meeting. Here are the points that stood out the most to me, personally. (To be fair, these same points stood out to just about everyone who saw the tweets).
- It lasted three-and-a-half hours. That’s a really long time to have a casual conversation. Which, in turn, leads me to think this is a pretty serious discussion between the Cubs and Darvish.
- He worked without his interpreter. Obviously, being from Japan, English is not Darvish’s primary language. I love that he held this meeting without an interpreter and I can’t help but think that it makes it a more meaningful conversation. I could be totally wrong, but it sure seems promising.
- There seems to be a reference to ‘tomorrow’, so the Cubs and Darvish are talking more on Tuesday? Again. You don’t have further talks if there’s nothing to discuss. Something seems to be going on here.
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A change-of-heart on Darvish
This ‘change of heart’ doesn’t refer to the Cubs’ stance on the free agent, but rather my own. When the offseason began and I saw Darvish projected to land a deal in the $160 million range over six years, I figuratively washed my hands on this one. I wanted no part of it, especially given the impending free agent class of 2018.
And, of course, you had his infamous poor showing against the Houston Astros in the World Series. Another turn-off for a lot of folks. Initially, I found myself amongst this group. But then, the report surfaced regarding him tipping pitches and I felt a lot better. Why? Because tipping pitches if a fixable issue. Bad stuff is not (well, at the very least, it’s not as easy of a fix).
If the Cubs can land Darvish in the five-year, $100-$120 million range, I’m all onboard. Part of the reason is the relative weakness of the other four starting rotations in the Central. Another? I love the idea of slotting him into a rotation that already features Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana come October.
Keeping an ear to the ground
It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of these meetings. Darvish makes a lot of sense for the Cubs, who have focused exclusively on pitching so far this offseason.
Chicago’s top dogs may be meeting face-to-face with him to work out any financial discrepancy. Given his age and the market, he may still be looking more in that $150 million ballpark and Theo and Jed may be interested enough that it warrants a detailed talk about money. Or, maybe it’s more philosophy-based. At this point, we don’t have enough information to even make an educated guess.
But one thing is clear. This team is ready to add that last big arm before the New Year. I can’t help but think if the Cubs pull this one off, they immediately become the team to beat not only in the Central, but are neck-and-beck with both Washington and Los Angeles in the National League for years to come.