Chicago Cubs: What happens if Yu Darvish elects to opt out of his contract?

Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

If Yu Darvish chooses to opt out of the remaining four years of his contract, the Chicago Cubs could face some harrowing decisions this offseason.

Even as recently as the All-Star Break, there was literally no chance we’d even be discussing whether or not Yu Darvish would consider opting out of his contract. But given the lack of impact starting pitchers on the free agent market (aside from Gerrit Cole) and his second-half dominance, it’s become a very real question for the Chicago Cubs.

Cole headlines this winter’s crop of arms, joined by the likes of Dallas Keuchel, Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler and Jake Odorizzi. Stephen Strasburg could join that mix as well, by opting out, which would undoubtedly make this group, as a whole, far more appealing.

But if you’re Darvish, you know that there are questions surrounding a lot of these guys Keuchel didn’t debut for Atlanta until the end of June after waiting till the season started to sign a deal with the Braves – a victim of this new-look free agency that’s wreaked havoc on players in recent years. Even when he joined Atlanta, he managed a lackluster 4.72 FIP in 19 starts – the worst since his rookie year.

Bumgarner has a ton of innings on his left arm (he ranks 18th among active pitchers – and is the only person on that list under the age of 30) – and it’s still not out of the question the San Francisco Giants look to bring back their franchise icon. He hits the big 3-0 next August, so he’s no doubt going to attract plenty of attention this winter given his tremendous postseason resume – not to mention he’s made at least 30 starts in all but two of the last nine years.