Recognition for Cubs ace Yu Darvish and his stellar season continued this week.
He might have fallen short in his quest for the first Cy Young Award of his career, but Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish has certainly garnered his fair share of attention for his work on the mound in 2020.
Of course, he finished second to Trevor Bauer in NL Cy Young voting, despite tying for the league lead with eight wins and an MLB-best 2.23 FIP in 76 innings of work. Really, it was the stunning culmination of several years of hard work that helped the Japanese-born hurler turn his Cubs career.
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This week, Darvish earned a spot on the All-MLB 1st Team – one of just five big league starting pitchers to do so. He joined Bauer, AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber, Max Fried of Atlanta and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom – quite an impressive list. No other Cubs were honored on either the All-MLB 1st or 2nd Team this year, hardly a shock given the team’s overall underperformance in 2020.
Look, this is nice. It’s great for Darvish – another feather in his cap, if you will. But the bigger question in regards to his future is whether or not Chicago holds onto the 34-year-old hurler. We know the Cubs are shedding payroll in any way possible and, if we’re being honest, there are few assets more valuable on the roster at this point than Darvish.
Pitching comes at a premium, especially in an offseason ruled by teams pinching pennies like never before. Bauer remains the top prize in free agency, but there are plenty of teams that, simply put, can’t afford the likely six-figure deal he’s looking to command.
Meanwhile, Darvish has just three years left on his contract – at just $53 million, hardly a price tag that will break the bank. Even better, during that span, his annual salary decreases from $22 million in 2021, to $19 million in 2022 and $18 million in 2023.
I’m sure Jed Hoyer will at least listen on offers for his prized ace this winter. Given the Cubs’ standing, there’s simply no chance he won’t. There’s an offer to be made for every player. Now, whether or not they come to fruition this offseason or not remains to be seen. Keep in mind that just because a guy isn’t traded this winter doesn’t mean he’s safe long-term.
You can bet that anyone of value that remains on the roster heading into next year who gets off to a hot start will be shopped ahead of the deadline next year. This isn’t a one-and-done effort this offseason. We’re in a period of transition and while Chicago might not trade someone like Darvish right this moment, we’ll likely see his name float around in the coming weeks, months and even years.