If you are inclined to bet baseball futures or have thought about it but never pulled the trigger than this is the time. The Cubs will win a lot of games this year and they are the odd on favorite to win the NL Central. Get in now before it’s too late.
Yu Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million guaranteed contract with the Cubs, which also features an opt-out clause, some no-trade protection for Darvish and some incentives. Before we move on to the breakdown, let’s first take a moment to pause and reflect that the best free agent pitcher available this offseason finally signed less than a week before catchers and pitchers are set to report. This offseason…
After getting Cy Young votes in 2012 and 2013, Darvish missed all of the 2015 season and big chunks of both seasons on either side of it thanks to a shoulder injury and the resulting Tommy John surgery. Despite missing almost two full seasons, however, he’s been so valuable that he still manages to rank 22nd among starting pitchers by far (19.0) over the six seasons since he came to MLB. That he’s been so valuable a player despite missing all that time should give you an impression of just how good he’s been.
If there was any worry that he wouldn’t be as dominant upon his return from injury, he’s certainly put that to rest. Since coming back in May of 2016, Darvish has a 123 ERA+ with 10.7 K/9, one of the best K/9 of any pitcher over that timeframe. That’s not to say that he’s not without risk, but that’s the story with every pitcher to walk the earth.
Darvish joins a rotation that already featured Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood, pushing Mike Montgomery back into a backup and supporting role. Darvish will take the (almost certainly, now) departing Jake Arrieta’s place in the rotation and give manager Joe Maddon one of the best rotations in the National League to work with and pair with his young, enviable position player core.
While the Cubs didn’t necessarily need to make a move this big, they did need to do something. They’ve failed to develop pitching internally as of late, but Cubs fans can’t be too upset, what with the ring and the aforementioned core. That the Cubs chose to break the stalemate on Darvish certainly sends a twofold message to the rest of MLB: (1) they’re ready for the 2018 season and (2) maybe y’all should sign some of these free agent pitchers now.
The recipient of the largest deal ever handed out in February, Darvish will at least have the option to opt out of his contract in a couple of years, but whether the market will correct itself by that time is another story. But at least he’ll have a couple years of likely postseason appearances to redeem himself after those World Series duds last year.
Don’t go to sleep on the Chicago Cubs, They are going to be the real deal in baseball and they are the favorite to win the NL West. Baseball futures are an investment for the long haul and you can’t go wrong with the Cubs.