While no one will ever mistake Zach Davies for Yu Darvish, either physically or stuff-wise, there most certainly is the chance that they could end up being very similar in terms of worth to the 2021 Chicago Cubs.
Many Cubs fans were not entirely happy at the end of last year when they found out the team had traded 2020 NL Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish and his personal catcher Victor Caratini for Zach Davies and four very young minor leaguers in what seemed to amount to a salary dump. Now, it’s not that hindsight has changed that notion, but the blow of the trade may have been softened a bit over the past few weeks as fans have been able to watch Davies go about his business in a Kyle Hendricks-esque manner.
Cubs: Davies’ performance this season may help fans forget the Darvish trade
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In fact, after watching the first series of the season, it’s not a stretch to say Davies outdid the usually superior Hendricks, a guy he is often compared to because of his reliance on a changeup and his lack of velocity. Yeah, yeah, yeah – I get it – it’s only one start and one series. However, Davies, who just turned 28 years old, has gone 17-11 over the past two seasons with a 3.30 ERA, looked phenomenal all spring with the Cubs and is now throwing his changeup more than he ever has.
The bottom line is Davies doesn’t have to be better than Hendricks (although Cubs fans would certainly be happy with that), but having a better year than Darvish would definitely make some fans eat crow while enabling the club to extend core members with the cost savings.
Davies was in complete command for 5 2/3 innings on Sunday, giving up only four hits and two runs while striking out five Pirates. If he can limit the home run ball that has been his Achilles’ Heel the past few seasons, he could be even more successful. With Davies being able to now pick Hendricks’ brain as a teammate, the changeup that was so devastating against the Bucs will only continue to get better and better, allowing Davies to succeed as the third member of the Cubs rotation.
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Granted, that doesn’t say first or second member of the rotation, and Darvish will be sorely missed after the success of his last year-and-a-half in a Cubs uniform, but Davies could help the front office and ownership win back some fans even after their obvious salary dump; heck, he could make fans forget Darvish altogether if Sunday was just a sneak peak of what’s to come.