The Chicago Cubs have reportedly received inquiries about their starting pitcher Yu Darvish. It’s just the latest in an offseason full of speculation.
This offseason, we’ve seen just about everything regarding the Chicago Cubs. Well, everything, that is, except some actual moves (besides non-tendering Addison Russell). We’ve seen lots of trade rumors involving players like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras and even Anthony Rizzo. Now, we can add yet another name to the list of players who have come up in trade speculation.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post reports that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have received inquiries regarding one of their starting pitchers, Yu Darvish. Like many of the other trade rumors that have been floated out there this offseason, fans may be asking whether a Darvish trade could actually happen.
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What we need to make clear about this report is that the Cubs have had teams approach them and that’s all. There’s no clear sign the front office is shopping Darvish, or even that they have considered it.
Still, the fact that it’s even come up is the latest sign of how, after a disappointing season that saw the Cubs miss the playoffs for the first time in five years, at least other teams are speculating that anything could be on the table.
We know about how Darvish came to life in the second half of 2019 after battling injuries and ineffectiveness during his first 1 1/2 years on the north side of Chicago. If the Cubs have any dream of competing in 2020, Darvish is going to again have to pitch like he did down the stretch this past season.
That being said, considering all the reports that the Cubs are supposedly strapped for cash this offseason and all the rumors surrounding the other players listed above, it’s mildly surprising that his name hasn’t come up until now.
The 33-year-old right-hander is still owed $81 million over the next four years, so if the Cubs were looking simply to dump salary, trying to trade Darvish would make sense. Yet given his importance to the team, Chicago likely wouldn’t consider moving him unless they were already punting on 2020, and despite the frustration Cubs fans feel right now for the lack of moves, there’s been no indication that the front office is doing that.
Cubs fans who are upset about the possibility of losing Darvish probably have nothing to worry about. Even if other teams are confident that he can pitch like he did in the second half of 2019, there probably aren’t many teams that would be willing to take on that contract and give up much of value in return. As recently as six months ago, the thought that the club could ever move Darvish would have been absurd.
Similar to the third base situation involving Bryant, the report speculates that Darvish could be someone other teams pursue once the big-name free agent starting pitchers come off the board. However, for the reasons outlined above, it’s hard to see Darvish going anywhere before the start of 2020. Hopefully, he’ll still be in Chicago next year and will pick up where he left off at the end of the season.