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February 2018

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Cubs Acquire Darvish and Bid Farewell to Arrieta

Written by , Posted in General

The Cubs might have the strongest pitching rotation in all of baseball, but is that good enough?

On Saturday, the Chicago Cubs landed the largest free agent signing of the year so far when they signed former Ranger and Dodger Yu Darvish to a six-year, $126 million dollar deal.

The Perception of the Deal

There is a case to be made that the deal is a bit long, but the money isn’t so egregious that it will hurt the club’s ability to make other necessary moves over the course of the deal.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20 isn’t it? Darvish has had injury problems in the past, as recently as last season, and if the Cubs struggle to get consistent starts out of him, everyone will say the deal was bad. If he wins the Cy Young, everyone will say the Cubs got a deal.

No matter how the deal shakes out in the end, this is the deal the Cubs had to make. Everyone knew re-signing Jake Arrieta was a long shot, and the only other top-tier starter available this offseason was Darvish.

Honestly, in a league without a salary cap, the cost of a deal is only problematic inasmuch as it prevents a team from making other necessary signings that would improve the team.

So is the deal perfect? No. But to keep up with the Brewers’ deals this winter, the Darvish deal felt sort of mandatory for the Cubs, which means Darvish is going to get the better end of the deal.

Of course, with the signing of Darvish, Arrieta will not be returning to the Chicago Cubs. Let us take a moment to remember.

A Love Letter to Jake

When Arrieta came to the Chicago Cubs in 2013, he was nearly on his way out of the major leagues. After taking a couple of years to get himself right and following the implementation of a rigorous personal fitness regimen, Arrieta became one of the most dominant pitchers in Cubs history for the last few years.

Sure, 2017 was a bit of a disappointment when Arrieta had an average season, but that is only really because his 2015 and 2016 seasons were unreal.

Who could forget the first no-no of his career?

Or his next no-hitter at the beginning of the 2016 season?

Or Game 2 of the 2016 World Series when he didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning?

Or Game 6 of the 2016 World Series when he struck out six Indians to force a decisive Game 7?

We could do this for hours. Or I could, anyway.

I’m really excited the Cubs added Yu Darvish because the Brewers have done their part to make the division look competitive on paper.

Now it is up to the rotation to perform at a level commensurate with their paychecks.

Pitchers and catchers are due to report in just a few days and have, in reality, already started reporting.

As it stands now, the Cubs rotation may very well be the best in the MLB.

But, as too many teams know, a good rotation doesn’t always translate to winning seasons. I am most concerned, as I have been all season, about how the Cubs’ pitchers will handle the last couple innings of the game.

More on that later.