Former Chicago Cubs ace remains an influential voice in major free agency signings

This former Chicago Cubs' ace is still influencing the team.

San Diego Padres v Chicago Cubs
San Diego Padres v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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Of all the moves that the Chicago Cubs made leading up to the teardown of the 2016 World Series-winning core at the 2021 Major League Baseball Trade Deadline, the one trade that never made sense was the team's decision to trade starting pitcher Yu Darvish to the San Diego Padres after the 2020 season.

The decision to trade Darvish was driven by financial reasons given the unfounded fear of Tom Ricketts that the Cubs were facing "biblical losses" as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shame in the deal for the Cubs was that after Darvish's initial struggles with the team, the 2020 season marked the veteran returning to ace form at the top of the team's rotation.

While Darvish's contract is no longer on the books for the Cubs, his signing is still paying off for the Cubs' organization.

Yu Darvish still has a lasting impact on the Chicago Cubs.

The first sign of Darvish's influence was prior to the 2022 season when the starting pitcher played a factor in Seiya Suzuki's decision to sign with the Cubs. Darvish has a significant influence on players making the transition from Japan to Major League Baseball.

That would be the reason why the Cubs' handling of Darvish during his team with the team was so important. Darvish was facing internal conflict after struggling with the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2017 World Series but the Cubs worked to re-establish the internal confidence in the five-time All-Star.

The end result of the Cubs' work with Darvish may no longer be paying off in the sense of Darvish pitching at the top of the team's rotation but he has influenced their major free-agent signings. Darvish's experience with the Cubs is a large part of the reason that Shota Imanaga signed with the team this off-season.

Imanaga joins Suzuki as two important pieces to the core of the next Cubs' contention window. If it works, then Darvish may be a pivotal voice in how it all came together.

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