Unbelievably, the Cubs are shopping Yu Darvish. Is this enough to signal that tanking or a full-scale rebuild is in the works for the Chicago Cubs new President of Baseball Operations, Jed Hoyer? It certainly seems that way.
Darvish was injury-riddled his first season-and–half with the Cubs (2018 and 2019), but the strikeout wizard rebounded from his injuries well enough to compete for the 2020 NL Cy Young Award, ultimately falling to Trevor Bauer for the honors.
Cubs Are Shopping Yu Darvish; but Why?
Earlier this offseason, it was reported that the Cubs, among other National League Central teams, were looking to “save money.” That’s been Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts’ mantra for the last few seasons. Ricketts wanted to get back under the luxury tax threshold, and based on this winter’s offseason moves to date for the Cubs, he’s making terrific headway (sarcasm added).
Among others, the Cubs non-tendered LF Kyle Schwarber and CF Albert Almora Jr. this month, showing that Theo Epstein (Jed Hoyer’s predecessor) was finally serious when he said the team would be exploring all options.
Epstein regularly warned that there was no such thing as an ‘untouchable’ in the Cubs’ clubhouse, and several hints were made stating that their young core was subject to being moved. This was a team that was built to be a dynasty, but after winning the 2016 World Series under manager Joe Maddon, the Cubs declined each year until being taken over by new manager, David Ross.
In 2017, they bowed out during the NLCS. In 2018, they found themselves out of the postseason after facing the Colorado Rockies in a Wild Card Game. In 2019? They didn’t even see the postseason, and in 2020, despite taking the NL Central pennant, they lost to Miami in the Wild Card Round.
Of all the pieces that could be moved, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the fact that that the Cubs are shopping Yu Darvish. Extension talks with Javier Baez have stalled. Kris Bryant will walk away as a free agent if he’s not traded this winter. Rumors are swirling around Willson Contreras‘ name, and dealing Anthony Rizzo hasn’t been officially ruled out either.
Where Are ‘Yu’ Going?
According to a tweet by Jon Morosi on December 23, 2020, the San Diego Padres look to be among the top suitors for the crafty right-hander. Darvish would fit in well with almost any club, the question being who wants to own the balance of his six-year, $126M deal which runs through the end of the 2023 season.
With guys like Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, Chris Archer, and others on the move, it’s likely that there will be a home for Darvish if someone wants to pony up the money for Darvish’s contract, along with a sizeable return in trade pieces.
San Diego is rich in prospects, and as the Cubs work on dismantling what could have (and should have) been an elite team, they’ll need promising prospects to fill the voids. This may be one of the key reasons as to why the Cubs are shopping Yu Darvish to the Friars. After Chicago’s 108-year drought, Theo Epstein pillaged the Cubs farm system, selling his soul for a crack at a World Series Championship. Mission accomplished, but then they imploded.
He has a couple of good years left in him, so the why the Cubs are shopping Yu Darvish will remain somewhat of a mystery, especially when you consider that they’re already down Jon Lester and Tyler Chatwood, with Kyle Hendricks‘ name also surfacing as another possible trade piece.
If all of these players get moved, it may be another 108 years for Chicagoans.
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