Chicago Cubs: Long contracts need patience from fans–like it or not

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs long-term deals have been hit or miss

And now we have Yu Darvish. I have to admit; the first year was a total loss. Injuries took his year from him, but his few performances didn’t endear him to Cubs’ fans. He inked a six-year, $126 million deal with an opt-out after this season. Many may be hoping he takes advantage of that. And while he’s not necessarily impressing the fans this year? He’s healthy and looking better each time out.

I’ve left out players like Tyler Chatwood and Ben Zobrist as their deals were four years or less. Zobrist has at least equaled his contract, if not exceeded it. And while Chatwood’s deal is only three years, he still has a chance to show his value as he has this year. But we’re looking more at long-term, six years or more.

So how did Lester turn out? Now pitching in his fifth season with the Cubs, he’s been an All-Star twice, finished second in the Cy Young in 2016, ninth in 2018. In those five seasons thus far, he’s 62-32 with a 3.31 ERA. His SO/W ratio is 3.28, and he’s been a critical piece in the postseason–all four years of them. I realize not everybody disliked Lester that first-year performance wise. Many recognized the Cubs hadn’t ‘arrived’ yet, and the numbers weren’t going to be that impressive.

When the Cubs signed Lester, Theo Epstein knew that at the end of the contract, he might not get much from Lester. But yet, he still is. Many would still consider Lester the ace of the staff. The stuff isn’t the same, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a pitcher leave everything on the field as Lester does.