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) /
2 of 3
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Darvish knows what comfort means to his success

In short, despite the questions surrounding this winter’s free agent class, Darvish knows there are just as many – if not more – questions about what he brings to the table. Is he the guy who made just eight starts (and mostly horrible ones at that) in his first season with the Cubs? Or did the legitimate ace-like performance of the second half of 2019 more accurately indicate what he has to offer?

"“I’m not thinking anything about it right now,” Darvish recently told the Chicago Tribune. “I have talked to my agent and family too. But I’m so comfortable here. I really like this organization.”"

Comfort is key for Darvish – dating back to his time with the Texas Rangers. That’s a narrative that’s followed him for essentially his entire career, for better or worse.

Down the stretch, the right-hander was not just the best pitcher in Joe Maddon‘s rotation – he was one of the best starters in Major League Baseball. And as points out, he gave Maddon himself near-endless praise and credit when it came to getting the right-hander back on track in 2019.

"“He’s a great person, not only a great manager,” Darvish said. “Especially last year and the beginning of the year, he was so patient for me. That’s why I feel really good right now, because of him.”"

So with Maddon gone – does some of the comfort Darvish felt on the North Side of Chicago go with it? Perhaps. It’s one of the factors he’ll undoubtedly weigh in the weeks leading up to his decision deadline. But at the end of the day, I have to think that he feels more comfort with the Cubs, regardless of Maddon, than in an entirely new setting for the third time in as many seasons.

Taking all that into account, you still can’t say with absolute certainty that Darvish returns. So it’s worth asking the question: if he leaves, what in the world do the Cubs do at the top of the rotation in 2020?