So let’s talk about a hypothetical Cubs-Padres trade involving Yu Darvish.
Let’s just call it like it is. Chicago Cubs ace Yu Darvish is heading into his age-35 season, has three cost-controlled years left on his deal and is coming off a runner-up finish in the NL Cy Young race. His value will never come close to being as high as it is right this minute. Period.
Now, in a normal world where the Cubs are spending like the big market team they are and not focused on shedding contracts, we’d be very much looking forward to seeing what Darvish does for an encore in 2021. Since the All-Star Break in 2019, he’s been one of the most dominant starting pitchers in all of baseball.
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But these aren’t normal times and the Cubs don’t seem to give a lick about spending to improve the roster. They do, however, seem very interested in entertaining any and all trade offers that could help the club get younger and better suited for success down the road.
Enter a prospective Darvish trade.
This week, Jon Morosi opined on MLB Network that the San Diego Padres, a team that is dripping with young talent both on the big league roster and in the farm system, are “the strongest option out there.” Woo boy. OK, let’s dive in a little deeper.
San Diego broke out in 2020, finishing with the second-best record in the National League. Unfortunately, the one team that outpaced them came from within their division in the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. They went out and made a big move, adding Mike Clevinger from Cleveland – only to see injuries derail the right-hander. To make matters worse, he underwent Tommy John surgery after the season and won’t pitch in 2021.
Needless to say, the Friars no longer want – but need – impact arms in that rotation. Like I said, they have a crop of up-and-coming young prospects, but a bridge in the next year or two will be critical. Darvish could fill that void flawlessly – although one should note he has a 12-team no-trade list and we have no idea which clubs are on said list.
On the segment, Morosi spoke to what the Cubs are looking for in a return in any Darvish trade and said their asks seem to be ‘fairly priced to market’. To be clear, this suggestion of sending the right-hander to San Diego is of Morosi’s own thinking. To our knowledge, there aren’t any talks taking place. But seeing this connection being drawn is promising to those of us looking for Jed Hoyer to capitalize on what few high-value trade chips he has in his arsenal this winter.
Trading Kris Bryant is a non-starter. You’re selling at an all-time low on a former MVP. Same goes for Javier Baez, who ranked as one of the worst offensive players in the league this year. But Darvish? He’s a guy who will draw interest for a myriad of reasons – and if we’re talking about the Padres, one starts to salivate looking at the pitching ranks in the organization.
You’re not going to land a MacKenzie Gore – know that and accept it right now. But there are several other high-ceiling guys in that system who, if traded to the Cubs, would immediately rank at or near the top of any prospect lists. As we know, Chicago has famously failed to develop arms in the last decade. Sending Darvish to the Padres could be a huge step toward addressing that shortcoming moving forward.