The baseball hot stove has been more like an ice box this offseason as there have been very few big-time free agent signings. Super agent Scott Boras even suggested that teams were colluding against free agents by freezing the market. Boras is understandably upset because if his clients don't get paid, then he doesn't get paid.
But the free agent market did see major action on Saturday and perhaps this big signing can create a domino effect. Pitcher Yu Darvish agreed to join the Chicago Cubs on a six-year $126 million contract that could be worth even more.
Again: Darvish to #Cubs, six years, $126M, pending physical, sources tell The Athletic. Chance to get to $150M range through incentives.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 10, 2018
Darvish was arguably the top pitcher on the free agent market and was courted by the Yankees, Twins, Brewers, Astros, Dodgers and Rangers. He pitched for the last two of those teams in 2017 by starting in Arlington, TX and finishing in Los Angeles. Darvish made his fourth All-Star team last year and his 11 strikeouts per nine innings for his career ranks first all-time among pitchers with 100+ starts.
The $126 million deal is the fourth contract in excess of $100 million that the Cubs have handed out. That trails only the Yankees' six $100 million contracts for most among MLB teams.
Darvish will be expected to fill the void created by the departure of Jake Arrieta who remains a free agent. The Cubs also signed Tyler Chatwood, formerly of the Rockies, and he'll replace free agent John Lackey.
The Cubs got an up close and personal look at Darvish in last season's NLCS. He gave up one earned run in 6.1 innings vs. Chicago while he was pitching for the Dodgers. Owner Tom Ricketts and GM Theo Epstein are praying for that Yu Darvish to show up in Chicago instead of the one who showed up in the World Series. Thanks to tipping his pitches, the Houston Astros teed off on Darvish as they scored eight runs over 3.1 innings pitched vs. him in the World Series.