With both Yu Darvish and Shohei Ohtani sidelined with injuries, both the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Angels may regret their biggest offseason moves.
Okay, okay. Maybe they won’t regret the moves. But with Yu Darvish flirting with a 5.00 ERA eight starts into his Chicago Cubs career and Shohei Ohtani’s name coming up an awful lot alongside the words ‘Tommy John surgery’, the short-term dividends could certainly be better for both teams.
Darvish and his North Side struggles are well-documented by this point. First, he missed time with a severe case of influenza. Now, he could miss the rest of the first half with triceps tendonitis. That’s not exactly what you hope for when you sign a guy to a six-year, $126 million deal. But, you look west to the Angels and wonder how Billy Eppler and the boys are feeling right about now.
For the record, Eppler backpedaled on reports suggesting Ohtani is a near-lock to need Tommy John this season. But, for argument sake, let’s say he does indeed go under the knife before this 2018 ends.
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At least, as a pitcher, such a move means he’s done for this year – and likely all of 2019, as well. That takes you to the 2020 season – in which Ohtani turns 25. Even if this is the case, you can’t help but feel good about four more years of control post-surgery where, in theory, you get a player just entering his prime.
Drop the instant gratification mentality
Really, what I’m trying to say is this. Should Ohtani require surgery on his electric right elbow, neither the Angels nor the Cubs will be able to evaluate their big offseason moves anytime soon. If Angels fans are anything like the Wrigley faithful, may God have mercy on us all because the overreactions and self-imposed death sentences will run rampant.
On the North Side, Yu Darvish is a bust. Just ask fans who started following this team about three years ago. They’ll tell you. Apparently eight starts is all it takes to either be the next coming of Fergie Jenkins or little more than a has-been who can’t handle the pressure of Chicago.
Baseball is a grind. 162 games spread out over six months – plus another month of postseason action. Careers span decades, at times, and there are guys who seemingly flounder for years before they figure it out.
I’m not labeling Darvish or Ohtani as such an occurrence. They’re both, in my mind, tremendously talented athletes who will bring great value to their respective clubs. But given Cubs fans’ tendencies to second-guess every move Theo makes, it seems pertinent to point out this situation.
Even if the Cubs had landed Ohtani and Darvish signed elsewhere, they may very well find themselves in the same shoes they’re wearing here as we approach mid-June. Think big-picture, guys. There’s a lot of blank pages left in the book for both of these players.