Yu Darvish is a Cub

A picture really is worth a thousand words.

The Cubs unequivocally got better in 2018 with the signing of Yu Darvish. The news has been incredibly for positive for the Cubs. They have landed the top free agent starter on the market for a 6 year $126 million guaranteed deal. The deal may become worth up to $150 million. That is incredibly team friendly team for the Cubs. The top free agent starting pitcher on the market landed a deal worth almost 30 million less than Jon Lester's deal three years ago.

I have to admit to a certain amount of giddiness over the deal. There is the fact that the Cubs added a pitcher with amazing stuff and statistically compares to Max Scherzer, John Smoltz, Jake Peavy, Kerry Wood, Ted Higuera, Johan Santana, and Zack Greinke according to Baseball Prospectus. It is also the fact that the Cubs front office has delivered my preferred target to the Cubs three years in a row. Yu Darvish was my preferred target if it wasn't clear from here or here. Beyond that is that the Cubs have pulled off the same feat twice in the past three years. In 2015, the Cardinals were the best team in the National League. The Cubs signed the best two free agents from the Cardinals in 2016. The Dodgers were the best team in the National League in 2017. The Cubs have signed the two most desirable free agents from the Dodgers in 2018. Also the Cubs have twice thwarted the Brewers in upgrading their starting staff by acquiring Jose Quintana and Yu Darvish.

The details are incredibly Cubs friendly so far. Here are the first tidbits we got on the deal.

So the news is that the Cubs got the best starting pitcher of the free agent class, and a pitcher with the stuff of a true top of the rotation pitcher for a $21 million per year guarantee. That number is incredibly important as the Cubs flirt with the competitive balance tax threshold. The deal only becomes worth $150 million if Darvish pitches at an incredibly high level. Essentially, Darvish has to pitch at a Randy Johnson level for the deal to become worth $5 million less than a deal Jon Lester signed three years ago. That is very team friendly.

Fangraphs has its own estimates of what a player would be worth on the free agent market. Yu Darvish has been worth $28 million every year he has pitched in the big leagues except for two. The first was when his arm blew up and he had to miss an entire season in 2015. The second was in 2016 when he only started 17 games. He was worth just $21 million in that season.

However, the deal isn't as simple as that.

The first point is that the front office's aversion to no trade clauses hasn't prevented them from operating at the top of the free agent market. The biggest deals the have negotiated have all involved them. This shows one of the strengths of this front office in not operating in a dogmatic fashion. They weigh the value of these things and make decisions that have successfully balanced long and short term needs at the proper time. The opt out on the other hand provided some additional wrinkles to the deal beyond the club's willingness to strike a balance to increase the odds of winning championships now and later.

This might be a way in which the Cubs are fully leveraging their current economic position. We will have to wait and see what the exact breakdown of the salary is, but early indications are that the opt out is after year 2.

That makes sense given the crowded free agent market next year, and the fact that it will be more difficult to secure a large payday at age 34 then age 31. Age 33 might not be much better but there is a window of opportunity. The Dodgers were believed to be in the same ballpark as the Cubs by most reports, but before we celebrate another prized free agent turning down money to play for the Cubs the opt out needs to be considered. Specifically the amount of money offered up front prior to the opt out. My guess remains that the deal is front loaded with the AAV much closer or even over $25 million to start the deal. This gives Darvish a chance to make more over the course of the 6 years if he produces at pre-Tommy John levels in his two years with the Cubs. There is protection for the Cubs in that his actual cost will be much lower the remaining 4 years if he is just good or worse, and the Cubs have perhaps found a way to game the competitive balance tax threshold a bit with the additional years bringing the AAV down to just $21 million. That gives the Cubs over $11 million to work with this season to remain under the tax threshold ($10 million if you figure in Chris Gimenez's major league salary).

If you will allow me the indulgence of one last pat on the back here, the timing of the deal indicates that the Cubs front office does value that extra time for Darvish to be a Chicago Cub. If you want to believe that Darvish's World Series performance was a fluke due to tipping pitches, more time with Jim Hickey and Jim Benedict is a positive that is worth more than zero dollars. Yu Darvish by all reports is a player who valued familarity in these negotiations. The Cubs saw first hand last season how a player's performance suffered when trying to adjust midseason to a new environment in Justin Wilson. Allowing Darvish to join camp on a normal schedule after the Cubs "blinked" in offering a six year deal.

There is very little to feel bad about this deal from the Cubs perspective. Yu Darvish's arm could explode or he might become ineffective suddenly. That is the risk invovled in any large free agent deal, but the front office has continued to show a willingness to flex their muscle when the time is right. The time was right. So in conclusion:

 

Update: Just a reminder of what a healthy Yu Darvish is capable of doing with a baseball.

Filed under: Analysis, Cubs, Free Agency

Tags: Cubs, WooHoo, Yu Darvish

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  • There is always a sense of giddiness when the Cubs sign a big-name free agent, but the jury is out for me. I’ll be curious what Cobb signs for and how he and Darvish compare over the length of that contract.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Cobb would have cost a draft pick, which also figures in to the evaluation

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    True. Although a second round. I’ve read he might get four years, $65m, so about half. Darvish’s contract is way better than what Price got. Hopefully he pitches better as well.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    I am confused if you mean David Price. He received a 7 year $217 million deal.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    Better for the Cubs. The cost of 30+ pitchers is dropping, but still seem a lot to me.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Ah, yes. It is very hard to argue that these aren't very friendly terms for the Cubs given the history of the market. Doesn't guarantee that things will work out, but still it is hard to feel like the Cubs overpaid at the moment.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    Jordan Zimmerman is halfway through his five year contract at an AAV of $21M. I’d say the market has come down a bit! I’m very pleased; what a great deal.

  • In reply to Jordan Dutcher:

    Looks like the market has made a slight correction. Jordan Zimmerman is still owed $74M for the next 3 years. I admit I like Zimmerman before the Tigers signed him. Shows what I know.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Our rotation just got stronger, let's hope everyone stays healthy. Montgomery gives us a nice swing man and Smyly may turn out to be a nice addition in the long run. It will be interesting how bullpen shakes out.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Cobb to the Brew crew doesnt seem like a good fit. Him and Davies are essentially similiar pitchers and pitching them back-to-back likely wouldnt be good for the one pitching the 2nd day. Jake actuallt makes more sense for the Brew crew.

  • The Cubs play three dimensional chess while the rest of the league plays checkers. As you said Mike, there's nothing not to love about this deal.

    The Cubs may not have a true Ace on their staff (although Jon was one once and Kyle could be one soon), but they have four #2 guys and a #3; along with a solid #5 (Monty) providing depth. Quality and quantity in the rotation goes a long way to continued postseason success. And as an added bonus, the Cards and Brewers are bridesmaids once again.

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    Solid rotation, no doubt. No flaws. All systems go.

  • Guys, the front office did what they had to do, and what we all wanted them to do. We all will never agree with the player or contract. But in the end, we signed the best pitcher, didn't loose a draft pick, didn't loose anymore prospects and are still under the luxury tax!!!! Is there still room for Harper or someone else next year???? I don't know, you don't know!!! Let's not worry about next year!!! This year is here now, and from what I'm looking at, the Cubs are set!!!

  • With their additions this off season, the Cubs have solidified themselves as serious World Series contenders for the next several years. And they've done so without touching the big league roster. The only currency they've spent is money of which the Cubs have PLENTY and that's BEFORE the new Cubs Channel/TV Deal kicks in. And they still have room to add this year if they so choose and still remain under the luxury tax.

    Then you consider the fact they will get a draft pick for Wade, and another for Jake when he signs somewhere. Plus, they're out of the IFA penalty box so they'll blow through that this year and sign one if not more Top 5 prospects. That's how you play for championships in the short term while reloading for the long term. Name another organization in MLB that can say the same thing. Spoiler alert - there is none.

    AND...they still have room to add a Harper or Machado next year if they choose to do so. So they got that going for them, which is nice...

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    I agree with the general sentiment, but just wanted to clarify one of the changes in the new CBA. The Cubs cannot blow past their IFA limits like previous years. The penalties are much steeper (costs draft picks, if I recall correctly) for exceeding the bonus pool limits which are now tied to market size and payroll as opposed to where a team finished.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    Mike, I believe it is now a hard cap on IFA signings. No more blowing through it. You can't go over any more.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I couldn't recall if they would simply void any deal if a team signed over the cap or if they penalty was loss of draft picks. Either way, the incentive to overspend every couple years is gone.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    You can't over spend is what I think it is ... hard cap.

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    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    This is correct. The league won't approve any deal over the cap. Amusingly, it gives an even greater incentive for teams like the Cubs to tank big time during a rebuild.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    I hear ya, but nevertheless, the Cubs will still enter this IFA period without any carry over penalties and will exit it with one if not more Top 5 prospects. Unlike what they've been able to do with their hands cuffed recently.

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    I agree with part of what you are saying. Do you have any specifics of how the Cubs channel will work? Are people gonna have to pay extra to get games?

    1 thing I still don’t like is closer. Morrow is not the answer!!!

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Not sure that the whole concept of closer is the way to go. Nate Silver (https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/baseball-is-finally-realizing-that-the-save-is-dumb/) makes a persuasive argument that using the Miller model of utilizing your best reliever in the highest leverage situations will lead to more wins. Once again, the Cub FO may well be way ahead of the curve (so to speak).

  • In reply to wthomson:

    I think the Cubs will use Morrow in a traditional closer role. It is easier on the manager, and it also will hopefully limit the use of Morrow through the regular season given Morrow's obvious health concerns.

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    In reply to Mike Banghart:

    It is easier on the manager but I am not worried about "taking it easy on Joe." I have long been disparaging toward the "save" and whole-heartedly disagree with the "The 9th inning is different" line of thinking. Overall, I like the sound of having a guy that gets us out of jams. Beginning in the 6th inning if the pitcher finds himself in a jam we go to the closer. Consider him a "fire-man" and put him in there to put out fires. It wouldn't necessarily increase his workload compared to coming in 3-4x in a week to "protect" a 3-run lead. As a team I might even consider giving incentives for WPA

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Your right.....getting the last 3 outs of the game is dumb. Morrow pitched for the Dodgers who had a lights out reliever so some of his high leverage opportunities were limited. The 2 previous years he pitched for the Padres and I am pretty confident in saying there was no high leverage there. Name a team who didn’t have a legit closure and won the WS. Cubs maybe ahead of curve is clouded vision maybe the cubs couldn’t get a deal done for a legit closure.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Houston Astros. Ken Giles is not a high leverage closer. He is a stats closer.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    He had a great year as a closure. 34 saves. To win it you need that.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    A great year? Really? I’m guessing you don’t watch many Astros games. Giles is a stats closer.

    What were Giles’ playoff stats and saves? Why didn’t he pitch in high leverage situations in the WS?

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    You are correct I didn’t watch a lot of Astros games this year. But based on stats he had a nice year. To be 4th in AL in saves isn’t bad!!!! If Astros had to use a committee to close the door they might get to WS to win it. He pitched in 7 post season games. Seems like a lot of high leverage situations.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Giles Post Season 2017 stat line.

    ALDS: 2 games. 3 innings. 6.00 ERA
    ALCS: 3 games. 3 innings. 9.00 ERA
    WS: 2 games. 1 2/3 innings. 27.00 ERA

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    Great post. Concur.

    For me, I cheer for the jersey and don’t really care about “who” plays. I want a long-term plan for success. This is exactly what Theo and Jed have done. I couldn’t be happier with our front office. This signing is so Pro-Cubs it is not funny. This sets us up with a 4th straight post-season run and another good shot at a World Series.

    I always thought if Darvish were signed then it made a lot of sense to go hard after Machado to bolster the run for this year. I still feel that way. Not sure that would be in the plans, but regardless i am excited for this season to get underway.

    #wearegood

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Who do you give up for one year of Machado? And what does that do to the team otherwise being in the mix for multiple years even without him?

    He won't be extending, so why trade years of contention for one guy who won't be here in 2019? That's not how this FO works.

  • In reply to MN Exile:

    They are going to have to trade in the near future as some of these guys begin to make more money in arbitration. Machado my be a better long-term fit if the Cubs are going to hand out a big contract next season anyway. Losing Machado, with Russell as the main piece, if it were only for 1 year would not hurt the Cubs long-term as Baez slides over to SS and Happ/Zo/ LaStella could take over at 2B.

    Signing Darvish would allow the Cubs to move Monty with Russell if BAL really wants to get a SP. I realize a deal is certainly not imminent and highly unlikely. I really believe 2018 is ripe for the taking and we are positioned for a great season. You put Machado in our uniform and we are unequivocally the best team in baseball.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    We are the best team in baseball anyway. And Addison Russell is gonna prove to be just as good or better that Manny Machado lmao! Dude, Addison Russell is going nowhere

  • In reply to Holycow84:

    I like Russell, but he is nowhere near as good as Machado.

  • In reply to Holycow84:

    Without saying some thing that would be construed as a personal attack, let me just say you are wrong, dude.

  • Im lovin it! Cubs management went for it ,and got it.
    They are doing their best for all of us lifelong Cubs fans.
    Yu is a Cub!

  • Darvish has an opt out after 2019 per jeff passan

  • In reply to bolla:

    That's alright. If he leaves at age 34 the Cubs save $21M to use on the next guy. Yu leaving after 2 years is probably a good thing. Means he pitched well for 2 years. Now if only they could get Heyward to leave all would be well.

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    These big contracts always make me nervous. That being said I didn't think the Cubs would get Darvish for a $21M AAV. I would be thrilled if it is front loaded as you speculated, Mike. The Cubs have cash right now and if they can save toward the end all the better.

    But I will wait until I see the official year-by-year before I sink in to despair/jump up and down for joy. There is certainly reason to believe this will be a good deal. But it could also blow up in their faces.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    If there was no risk, then every team would have made that offer. That said it is pretty easy to see how the Cubs minimized their risk in a deal to land the best free agent starter. I am speculating on the structure of the deal, and I am anxious to see if I did so correctly.

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    In reply to Mike Banghart:

    You are probably right. As much as TC154 worries "We don't have enough pitching" I worry that "We paid too damn much for that pitcher." And I was a good deal less thrilled than most about signing Jon Lester--and was thrilled when they signed Heyward though I was worried that he might just opt-out--so what do I know.

    Maybe this deal was about maximizing our window now. If so, great. I, personally, would rather play to extend out chances into the future. This signing might cost us in a couple years as we will have less money available to re-sign some of our guys. But all it takes is 1 guy to sign a Rizzo-esque deal.

    The other possibility is that I need to re-frame how I look at these contracts. It is easy to imagine a guy collecting a HUGE paycheck at the end of the contract for mediocre production. But if we simply add the fWAR over the life of the contract and multiply that times the rough "value" of a WAR (usually between $7-9M and likely to increase after next year's FA bonanza) this might pencil.

    The one thing I am happy about with this signing is that it shows a certain opportunism by the Cubs. The off-season, by all accounts, has been a relatively quiet one. If Darvish had signed in December odds are he signs for a good deal more than this. But the market kind of dried up for him as teams moved on from his original asking prices, apparently, and found other players to fill their rosters. Then the Cubs could swoop in and scoop him up. There is no guarantee that he gets one of the big FA next off-season. And "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." If the Cubs had waited until next off-season they might not have been able to sign someone...or they would have to pay more per fWAR to get it. If Darvish can come in around 2.5-3 fWAR on average I could see this being a very good contract. But I am skeptical. My favorite contracts are those like the Cubs had with Lackey. While he wasn't particularly good this year (IMO) he isn't bogging down the payroll for many years.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    The only slight concern I have is after 2019, both Yu and Lester could be gone. That would put the 2020 season in the crosshairs for pitching like this off season did.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    The Cubs have Lester signed for 3 more years plus an option year if they want him for four years.

  • In reply to John57:

    Correct. My bad. I thought 2020 was an option year when the guaranteed salary dropped from $27.5MM to $15MM. The option Year is 2021.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Have to see how he can earn his incentives that could make it 25 AAV.

    The deal is to win in the next couple years and not about years 5 and 6.

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    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I read on Twitter that the full incentives will kick in when he wins multiple CYA so if he does that then I will lead the charge to pay him $25M.

    As for not worrying about years 5 and 6 it sounds like a recipe for a bloated payroll and mediocre play.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    At age 78 you might be surprised how little I care about years 5-6. Not being snarky, just saying.

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    In reply to veteran:

    That isn't snarky at all. Just a difference of opinion on how to evaluate a baseball contract.

  • As everyone here I’m sure knows I’m giddy over this signing. Aside from adding another TOR starter (a 1/2 type is still TOR) this makes the Cubs one of the deepest rotations in MLB even if not as top heavy as some. After 5 solid starters you have Montgomery, Tseng and likely Drew Smyly and Adbert Alzolay both late in the season. I still think Washington is the team to beat but this move does something that a Cobb or Lynn couldn’t do. Happy, happy Saturday? Is it opening day yet?

  • In reply to TC154:

    I think we are right there with the Nats. You can’t argue with their rotation, but we really closed the gap now. No question though the bullpen would go to the Cubs, pretty easy IMO. Net/Net it is close. Offensively should be very close like last year, but my gut says Zimmerman and Murphy don’t post the same numbers and we have a lot of bounce back potential.

    In the end in a 7 game series I think it is a coin flip. I will say the team that gets the 1 seed will have the edge. Both in 16 and 17 the top seed got a much easier series and it gave the Cubs and Dodgers big edges for the LCS. I will say this now the regular season matters as the Dodgers might be a step behind they will be a dog fight in a DS with Kershaw going twice.

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    In reply to bleedblue:

    I think the Nats have an advantage in the #1-2 slots but the Cubs have an advantage in the #3-4 slots. And, finally, the Cubs seem to have an "it" factor if you like that terminology (I am not crazy about it). But what I mean is the Cubs--and their fans--don't "expect" to lose the big game.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Fangraghs now has the Cubs just behind the Astros and LA in projected WAR for 2018. The Nats overall are 6th, with the Cubs now slightly exceeding them in pitching fWAR.

  • First off, I have to say I’m not a Darvish fan, never really have been but.......you have to give it up for what Theo just did.....
    If the rumor was true of the 4/110 offer to Jake and was turned down this bit of maneuvering was outstanding. The Cub rotation is now as tough as any in the game, enough to make the team one of the 3 clear cut dominant teams in the NL. Probably the most important of it all was the lack of disruption and loss of any of the good young positionals, the real chance to get back to a World Series THIS year along with my personal glee of seeing Boras take one right in the nuts.......always a plus, although he still makes out........just not as much as he feels he is entitled to. AAV of 21 mil a year is surprising.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Maybe we should start a collection for Mr. Boras!

  • I can't believe there are people complaining about this signing. In what world is adding the best available fa pitcher for 35-40 million less than he was projected to get not a good thing? The cubs had a gaping hole at the top of their rotation and filled it and people are complaining like darvish got 6 years 180 million or something

  • In reply to bolla:

    I think you are probably right. And Mike does a great job of explaining how well the Cubs handled the signing. But Darvish did have Tommy John surgery recently and he wasn’t particularly great last season and he is 31 and he has thrown a lot of pitches. I would have rather they signed Cobb. His upside is not nearly as high, but the downside is less too. Hey, if the Cubs win the World Series this year i’ll take it!

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    C'mon, Man! The downside is less? The ultimate glass half empty view.

    News flash: The Cubs are going for it! Aggressively. But without being stupid about it. This FO is the best. Simply the best. And so now, after a WS and three straight NLCS appearances, they now have put together the best roster the Cubs have ever had.

    This deal is all about maximizing chances for World Series wins NOW and for the NEXT THREE years. This roster is locked up for the next three years (Lester, Hendricks, Q) and four years (Rizzo, Baez, Russell, Schwarber).

    117 Wins!

  • In reply to TTP:

    Addi and Kyle are gonna have to play a heck of a lot better if cubs are gonna hit 117 wins

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I don't think that is far fetched. I don't think 110 wins but Addi and Schwarber playing better sounds reasonable.

  • Finally.... A free agent signing. And it’s the Cubs getting ToR Darvish. And not trading Schwarber, Almora, Happ, Ademan & Azolay for a #4/3 starter... Looking forward to Spring Training.

  • Cubs win the Winter Olympics Baseball Gold Medal with Darvish signing. Keep Russell, Almora, Schwarber etc. by using Ricketts cryptocurrency. Rebuilt pitching staff with Morrow, Cishek, Wilson, Chatwood, Smyly, Alzolay, and now Yu. Whew.

    Wish they had signed Matt Albers for peanuts to replace Grimm but the Brewers stole him.

    The real coup now would be to sign Jake Arrieta on a one year deal for $30 million and go with a 6 man staff. I know the numbers mavens will now scold me for my insolence and ignorance about baseball money, but I don’t care because I find those discussions tiresome. I only care about the team on the field. How much dough the Ricketts family makes is irrelevant to me.

    The Yankees and Dodgers get it right. Put a great team on the field and the money will come.

    I just hope Yu is da Man.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    Albers is gone buddy.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    It is more complicated than that Swarf? How many titles have the Dodgers and Yankees won combined in the past 10years? Far fewer than their Winter Olympics golds as you put it.

    Second, there are very real penalties now that are not just money related, but draft pick if you exceed the tax threshold. Seeing that signs point to a run at Harper and all the young players that will need paying the FO can’t just burn Ricketts money without real consequences to fielding Championship caliber clubs in the future.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Joe Ricketts doesn't own the Cubs. I don't know that his money is available to them. The baseball enterprise stands on its own, as it should.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    The Ricketts have a lot of money not just Joe. That said the Cubs as a stand alone could blow by the tax threshold, blow by it if it was their choice.

    My point is though you shouldn’t do that, you should be strategic, and I have no doubt this FO will be. In the next 5 years the Cubs will spend time paying the tax, but they will do it strategically, not do it just because they can.

    From a pure money standpoint there are only a couple of clubs that can simply outspend the Cubs, the Dodgers and Yankees. The Cubs are a money generating machine and when the Cubs get their TV rights sorted in the next couple years they will be in even better shape.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I believe the Ricketts family owns the Cubs. His 3 siblings and parents have a share of the Cubs. Were Ricketts is the chairman. No idea how it is split up.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    I love the idea of a 6-man rotation. Then go to the postseason with a fresh top 4 and 2 excellent wildcard relievers.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    6-man also potentially keeps the pen fresher for the postseason--fresher starters --> more starter innings --> fresher pen.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    What about the starters becoming used to pitching every 6th day during the regular season, and then getting tired during the post season because they are pitching on short rest?

    Going through the rotation, I'd rather see a starter get skipped in favor of the "6th starter", or just pitch the first 2-3 innings, and then have the "6th starter" take over in order to help keep the regular starters on their schedule.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    I like the idea of getting starters out after five innings on those not too frequent occasions when the team has a safe lead. Get some work for back end of the bullpen if the pen is not already tired. Saves starter bullets for another time at the end of the season.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Just about every pitcher in MLB gets hit harder the third time through the batting order. Most likely, it's hitters getting used to seeing their stuff and knowing what's coming.

    I still think the good mid-innings "long relief" guy will be an opportunity for the first teams using that approach. Have a couple in the pen, one from each side, to go R to L or L to R as the game warrants, and keep starters fresher that way. Makes the other manager have to "manage" more in matchup terms too.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    They aren't going to use a 6 man rotation

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Do you have first hand knowledge that the Cubs will not consider or use a 6-man rotation? Explain why the Cubs or any team would not use a 6-man rotation.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Do you want your best pitchers pitching less? Pitching coaches and pitchers hate not staying on schedule. You would also be using your lesser pitchers more often. Then you have to carry one less bullpen or bench player. Six man rotation not happening.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Or one less reliever.

    I would have the best pitchers pitch less if it keeps them fresh for the postseason. Fatigue certainly played a role in 2015, and I'd argue in 2017 as well.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    They would get fewer starts. I don't buy fatigue was an issue. Pitching was fine but the hitting didn't come through. Were the hitters fatigued?

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    So when baseball went from the 4 man rotation to the 5 man rotation it messed up everyone’s schedule?
    17 starting pitchers averaged 6 2/3 innings per start or 200+ innings last year.
    Baseball has changed. Except for the top 10 pitchers in baseball (of which Hendricks is considered one of them at #10), it is splitting hairs on quality.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Teams can't field five quality starters and now you want six. bad idea

  • In reply to Swarf:

    How much dough the Ricketts family makes is also irrelevant to me. However, how many draft choices the Cubs lose because they are over the luxury tax limit, how much international slot money they lose for the same reason, and how many of our core position players they are unable to re-sign because of the same problem ARE important to me.

    I want the Cubs to be a dynasty for the next decade. I have no desire to watch the Cubs in 4th place through the 2020s because they made a foolish gamble this year.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    agree 100% you don't want to go crazy one year and crimp your options for multiple future years.

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    I wanted Darvish much more than Jake. He (Jake) is trending downward and though a good to very good pitcher Darvish is simply better. A pitcher can be very effective into his mid-30’s. This also gives us time to develop our young pitchers too.
    The only other Japanese player I wanted was Ohtani. I’d rather, right now, have had Verlander, but he would have cost more players and fewer years and more money. This was a very good smart signing and with our on field talent we will be one of the favorites for the next 4 or 5 years at least.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Just have to respectfully disagree.....
    ......which we should and can do here.....

    You said pitchers can pitch effectively into their mid-30’s....ok......agree.
    Arrieta and Darvish are the same ages.....

    Arrieta is “trending downwards”? .....compared to?.....

    Darvish had TJ, alright......but since 2015 has pitched on ALL division winning clubs as has Arrieta.....

    Darvish is 17-17 since 2015 for good teams.....
    Arrieta 54-24.....

    Numbers do not lie.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I love Jake. Besides Sandberg my favorite Cub over the last 30 years.

    But compared to................
    who we saw in 2015.

    I will miss seeing Jake pitch every 5 days. I think 6 years for Yu is a bit scary.

    But did Theo make the right call? I trust he knows more about these two players than I do.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Wickdipper:

    Let me explain what I mean and by using numbers too.
    Jake--2015, era of 1.77, IP 229 H 150 WHIP .8665
    2016, era 3.10, IP 197 H 138 WHIP 1.084
    2017, era 3.53 IP 168 H 150 WHIP 1.218
    No one could think Jake would duplicate his 2nd half of 2015, but the hits/inn. keep going up as does the WHIP. He's slowly not as effective, and besides these numbers--I am not a cybermetrics only fan, but just the eye test tells me that.
    I appreciate the way you disagreed and I hope I'm doing the same. We'll see as the years go on.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Thanks Jon......I see your point and your numbers point in that direction.
    I’m not a saber guy, just a fan and I go with what I see. I am definitely a Jake guy when comparing the 2 I admit it. I see the bulldog attitude, the conditioning, also fall trap to what he had done in the past......with the past being the past but this to me is still like replacing Walter Payton with Neil Anderson......but in this case now this still is a very good move by the FO.......what I do not want to see in any scenario is Arrieta pitching for Wash or LA against us in a CS.....
    This puts us solidly into October baseball again which we should be thankful for.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Jaker is probably worth about the same as Darvish. Problem for him is his agent thinks Jake is Scherzer or Kershaw and hes not. Jake will probably get a 5/125 contract somewhere(dont be surprised if its the Nats) and be a decent mid-rotatio arm.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I pay exactly zero attention to W-L record. I look at the underlying numbers and Darvish is better, much better if you take away Jake’s historic run in 2015-early 2016. I’ve explained what worries me about Arrieta and the diminishing velo combined with the fact his mechanics are solely a function of core strength, so I won’t go into that here in any more detail than that but right now today I prefer Yu’s stuff. The playoff thing is a factor but I’m not judging a guy on two games. I’m convinced we got the right guy.

  • In reply to TC154:

    How can you take out 2015 and early 16???? You can win a debate if you throw out a guys best stats.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Well, let me turn that question around; do you think that crazy run was who Jake is or was it in an outlier unlikely to be repeated? I feel it’s the latter and while I appreciate watching the second coming of Bob Gibson during that time I’m inclined to believe he’s the pitcher Jake has reinvented himself as with less velocity and unable to throw that devastating “slutter” we haven’t seen since that time. That said if we had been looking at one year deals or even two I might have been more likely to want Arrietta than Darvish but we were looking at five or six. You has seven very good pitches with no velocity loss yet and if he can refine down to his four best pitches I’m convinced he’s the better bet.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I don’t think anyone could ever repeat that. Nobody would pitch at that high level. It is unfair for you to hold that against him. I thought original debate was who has had better stats?? I am not 100% confidence in saying Yu will have a better year then Jake.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Remember Bob Gibson?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I think you missed my point. I’m neither erasing those stats nor holding them against him, I’m just saying is that period of time is the only way you can say Jake has been a better pitcher. Everything else shows them as near equals. I also said (maybe elsewhere) that if we were talking two years I might have preferred Arrieta because of the playoff dominance. Talking 6 years though I think Darvish is by far the better choice. His mechanics are better, his release point is more repeatable and over time his array of pitches should give him an advantage. He is not without risk though which is why we got him st $21 mil AAV. I will always be grateful for Jake and watching that amazing run, for a guy that almost worships great pitching as I do, was among the baseball highlights of my life as a fan.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I, also, pay little attention to W-L stats. But what I would LIKE to pay attention to are a couple of stats that do not seem readily available (at least I don't know where to find them).

    I would like to see the W-L stat for the TEAM for a given starter's team (especially for their career). And I would like to see the same record for the team's other starters, to compare them to. And finally, I would like to see the percentage of a team's win for each starter.

    After watching baseball for the last 66 years, I have become convinced that some pitchers just have the knack of keeping their team in contention each game (and Arrieta seems to be one of them. An extreme case, look at the stats for Steve Carlton. In 1972, the Phillies won 59 games. Carlton won almost half of them (27).

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    You are right, however, about Verlander. Simply stated, he was the difference-maker for Houston.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Verlander was bigger to the Astros than his performance in August and September and playoffs. His impact in the clubhouse was the single greatest factor I've ever experienced. His willingness to take coaching on making slight mechanical and pitch selection/location changes was amazing. Everyone, especially Kuechel and Correa, took notice and played differently. There is something special about winners.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    You were in the clubhouse with the Astro's durning the season and the playoffs? That is so cool.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Yes

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    So do you wear your Cubs gear in the Astro's clubhouse before, durning and after games?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    That's funny. I have a split household. Half Cubs, half Yankees. I always remind my kids to not wear their favorite team's colors to a game and pretend they are in the press box and not cheer for their preferred team. I have a ton of respect for the Astros organization and the folks in it. I still believe many of them were happier for me in 2016 than they were for themselves in 2017.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Verlander is spent lol

  • fb_avatar

    Exactly Milk Stout. The rotation is stacked. Jon Lester is the #4 starter in the rotation. That is deep. As a Cubs fan living in Colorado I think Chatwood could be great. Before this signing, he had to be. Now he if he is great it's just upside.

    Plus we didn't have to trade the MLB talent that we all expected in October. I think we all knew that Cubs fans were going to have to swallow a bitter pill when Baez and or Schwarber were traded this winter. That didn't happen, the rotation is upgraded. The bull pen looks much stronger now than it did. Greg Holland will be an embarrassment of riches if the Cubs landed him to fill out the BP, but suddenly Opening Day can't get here fast enough.

  • In reply to Eli Roth:

    If Chatwood is what Jason Hammel was here in 2014-15, Cubs probably win 95-100 games.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    MLB has the Cubs winning 92 games right behind the Dodgers @95
    plus games.
    Great Yu Darvish sign, wish the Cubs could have gotten Christian Yellich, but O well, can't get em all !
    Big crocodile tears hear in L.A. over the Cubs latest signing.
    Any one want to take up a collection for poor Scott Boras ? NO !

    GO CUBBIES !

  • Thank you Theo, Jed and Jason. And of course the Ricketts family.

  • The key is not giving up a draft pick and international slot money.
    Can't wait see what they do In July with the international market
    now that they have all the their money to spend

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    emartinezjr, smacks my head. OK no draft pick or international slot money enough already. The Cubs are in win now mode!

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I'm pretty sure that signing the pitcher that helps them "win now" AND not giving up a draft pick or international slot money (giving them more leverage to "win tomorrow, too," is a good thing...

  • I would like to send a shout out to Jake Arrieta. Cubs legend. Fear the beard. World Series Champion.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    I agree. We don't have a ring without Jake Arrieta.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Second... he will be missed dearly and we will never forget those special moments...

    2014, hey we got something here
    2015, unreal Cy Young season, simply special
    2016 Game 2 and 6 of the WS will never be forgotten, clutch performances on the biggest stage.
    2017 we will not go quietly into the night on my watch.

    These are just a few things that stand out over 4years. Thank you Jake!

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Yes sir! Love Jake! I was at the last game he pitched at Wrigley and remember being so #$%@! angry when the moron started blaring the music when Jake left the field instead of realizing we were saying goodbye.

    Jake was a bulldog in the playoffs and WS. My favorite moment has to be the 2015 Wild Card game in Pittsburgh. Jake was simply nails and that win signaled the Cubs arrival. Goosebumps just thinking bout that game.

  • In reply to TTP:

    I agree. That Pirates game signaled the start of something special.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Dilly Dilly!!!

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Amen!

  • I didn't think 6yrs for Darvish would feel this good. I really like this this signing. Maybe it's because all the suspense or that 129m isn't much of an overpay. It's seems what I thought that it would cost for 5yrs. The price for pitching was due for a downward adjustment.

  • Soooo many ways to go with this one...

    But I think his team-first reputation and positive clubhouse persona wins the day:

    "I love Yu.
    Yu love me.
    We're a happy family."

    Right. Right?

    Go Cubs!

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    WRONG.

    You just (Darwin) Barney'd us. I refuse to let this be Right, Right.

  • In reply to TheoLeo:

    Leo's right here, Pops. This one scars. Will be a long time before we get over this one. OUCH!

  • In reply to TTP:

    I think many of us are still trying to recover from the "Like a Virgin" fiasco. :) As for Milk Stout's contribution, there may be some legitimate Sonny and Cher fans here, so I'm biting my tongue.

    On the topic of having fun, I've been perusing twitter and various fan forums, having a blast reading some of the comments from Dodgers, Rangers, Brewers, and Yankees fans. Many are very relieved it wasn't their team that fell into the Darvish trap, and are SO HAPPY it was the Cubs who got stuck over-paying for this worthless bum.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Barley,
    They say we’re young and we don’t know
    We won’t find out until we grow
    Well I don’t know if all that’s true
    Cause Yu got me & baby we got Yu

    Cubs got Yu, babe... :o)

  • fb_avatar

    Holy crap, steal.

    As in a good enough price to land Cobb or Arrieta as well. Call me crazy, I dare ya.

  • Welcome Yu. Good luck Jake! We will miss you.

  • fb_avatar

    I agree about Jake. We could have never won without him. Think about him with Baltimore, a pitcher with great stuff but couldn't put it together; well, he did when he came here--thank you Chris Bosio--and we've had 3 great years with him. Best of luck Jake!

  • fb_avatar

    The length and value makes me very nervous -- another Heyward contract would really hurt. But, this is essentially what you have to do when you can't develop pitching on your own. It was even more severe because they don't have the prospects to pull off a deadline deal this year.

    So, they're in on this year. And you have to give them credit for pivoting to Darvish when it became clear that the market was down. (You almost wonder if they regret going for Chatwood and would have preferred holding out for Darvish and Cobb given how things played out.)

    But, man, they really need to start getting some cost controlled pitching if they plan to extend the window beyond 2020.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Not gonna worry too much about 2021 and beyond. We are solid for the next three years. But it does look like with got a couple of young TOR arms who should be ready right around 2020/21. But, again, the focus is the next three years. How about six straight NLCSs? How about another WS Championship or three?

    I am just giddy for this season and the next few. Stud pitchers and a stable of stud hitters. I'm prone to hyperbole for sure. But I think it is objectively sane and rational to say this the best roster we've ever had. And potentially the best roster OF ALL TIME!

    117!

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes, the Cubs have already traded most of their high end redundant prospects for pitching, but it has worked. We are good!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    My point was, this is a deal they had to make. But being backed into position where you have to make a deal for 6 years and 20+ million per year (over 10% of the tax threshold is taken up between Darvish and Heyward alone) for a guy that has been dominant but also showed some very troubling signs last year is really not where you want to be. If Darvish melts down -- it's not a likely result but I'd argue it isn't particularly unlikely either -- they have a real problem on their hands.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I appreciate the “cannot develop your own pitching” take, but the same can be said of teams “cannot develop hitters” so we see similar AAV deals for Santana, a refused 5/$125 JD Martines deal, and where Todd Frazier gets $9MM. I think Theo/Jed tooknthe right path. With injury attrition rates of young arms, acquiring bats was the best path.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to rbrucato:

    But, we've done that, too. (Zobrist, Heyward) Free Agency works best if you can go out and pick the addition you want and then spend to get him. Not: we cannot win without some more pitching, we have to buy from what's available.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    To a small degree. I believe Heyward and Zo are pieces not counted on to be core players, well maybe Heyward was, but the result of the young offensive talent around him alcarried the day.

    I am trying to think of one team who filled their team with BOTH pitching and hitting from their system and cannot come up with 1 team. Which team do you believe has done this and is in a better Long-term position versus the Cubs? I don’t think it is possible to do both really well. Have to get lucky with some late picks or IFA.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to rbrucato:

    Dodgers (Kershaw, Buehler, Jansen, Stripling, Baez, Urias, Seager, Bellenger, Puig, Peterson), Astros (Keuchel, McCullers, Altuve, Correa, Springer, Bregman). The Yankees may not be in a better long term position -- the Harper pursuit will be telling -- but they've also developed pitchers and hitters (Severino, Betances, Warren -- yes, that Warren -- Sanchez, Gardner, Judge). It's definitely do-able.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    And the Cubs are right in line with those teams from a development standpoint, no?

    Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber, Russell, Baez, Contreras, Almora, Hendricks, Edwards are better or equal to the teams above, IMO. And if you don't agree with me, I don't think there is a big "gap" to think there is a team who has done it better. Is there an opportunity to get a few more key contributing pitchers? Yes. But we have put 7 positions players into the big leagues.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Right on. And you are 100 percent right. We have the best young players in the entire MLB and every other team knows this

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to rbrucato:

    Isn't this kind of moving the goalposts? You asked if there were teams that developed both pitchers and hitters, and I argued yes. And there's actually another piece here: despite all 3 teams having graduated a decent number of players recently, the Dodgers and Astros have more prospect talent left than the Cubs do in some part because they have had more success with non-first round picks. (The Dodgers also absolutely refused to part with their top talent for Quintana and wound up with 3 months of Darvish on the cheap. This is a debatable decision by them in itself.) Those are the picks the Cubs have used on masses of pitchers they've struggled to develop.

    I'm not even sure why this is controversial seeing as how Jed has commented on the Cubs struggles with pitchers, using Warren and Justin Wilson as examples -- but it could be stretched much further down the chain.

    Now, are there good signs here? Of course. Alzolay in particular looks like he could be very good, possibly even this year. De la Cruz has real talent. Perhaps Clifton can bounce back from his AA implosion last year. And there's some decent fifth starter depth in Iowa should disaster strike which wasn't true in 2015. They've also started spending higher picks on pitchers which should help.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don’t believe the goalposts moved as those teams were not shining examples of developing both pitching and hitting versus the Cubs.

    If you want to talk prospect currency then the discussions expand to include Chapman and Quintana too which gave 1 WS title and another NLCS—all for A ball players. Debates on both sides on the true cost which won’t materialie for a few years.

    You are more bullish than myself on the current SP in the system. I need a full year of AA success before any excitement really holds. I think Little was an awful pick versus Pearson. Albertos appears to be the only TOR talent. Alzolay and DLC show flashes. And we will see what Lange and Hatch as good college guys can do. The SP’s are still a ways off.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    If the goal of developing, and graduating, your own talent is cost control.... I don’t think the dodgers should get credit for Kershaw and Jansen given the contracts.

    They make a combined 42 million? Aka Two of Yu Darvish. Or like, all 7 of the Cubs young positional starters they developed combined?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    One big difference between the Dodgers and Astros referenced above vs. the Cubs.

    50% or more of the players listed on the Dodgers and Astros were drafted, signed and developed BEFORE those teams current FO was in place. Also remember, the Astros has 3 consectutive #1 overall draft picks.

    Name the current FO team that has put together with their current team what our FO has put together.

  • Since the Dodgers apparently offered Darvish 6 years, I think they will end up with Jake or Cobb but time will. Dominos will continue to fall now with the hot stove getting hotter.

  • In reply to Cphil:

    Not buying he Dodger supposed offer. All reports were Kemp needed to be traded before thy could consider an offer.

  • I think this was win-now, way more than the pricetag "steal" portrayed among the fan base. Fangraphs has Darvish as 3.5 WAR this season. With a half win regression per year (3.5-3-2.5-2-1.5-1), that's 13.5, or $9.3M/win. However, Cubs were supposedly $20M+ above the Dodgers, and the other rumored offers. There are articles about "What do the Cubs know about Jake?" but "What do the Dodgers know about Yu?" Regressing from 3.0 WAR, which would make sense for the LAD valuation, means the contract cost $12M/WAR. Time will tell.
    But the opt-out is more telling. This team is controlled and set for 2018 and 2019. Only the two Justin's are likely to be off the roster in 2019 and Smyly fills one spot as swingman/#6-7 starter with MiMo. Cheap internal options for the other spot. No need to play in the Boras morass/frenzy next winter.
    If Morrow or Cishek or MiMo again collects the final save of the season in November, then the contract price becomes irrelevant. The trophy is priceless. But Theo bought not one (like with Chapman), but two lottery tickets, so maybe Edwards or Maples gets that elusive save in November, 2019. And the core is untouched so there's dry powder.
    Hopefully two years gives the system arms time to mature. And time to erect a couple extra flagpoles around the scoreboard.

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    The Dodgers were under orders to keep under the "luxury tax" by MLB, though it was because of their debt load, not only their payroll.

    They would have to have cleared space for Darvish and every other team in baseball knew that. Not a strong position to be in when dealmaking is involved.

  • In reply to MN Exile:

    Maybe. But there were 28 other teams, none of who is purported to have gone much over $100M. I think the clincher was the opt-out, as Darvish likely believes in himself, and Theo would be just as happy to clear a roster spot for Alzolay, or Albertos, or Hatch, or Lange, or DeLaCruz at the MLB minimum for the 2020 season than to be on the hook for the remaining $84M. As it stands now Lester, Heyward and Darvish will cost $64.5M for 2020. At least another half dozen eight figure contracts for Rizzo, Bryant, Q, Hendricks, Chatwood, and Morrow mutual option or a premium closer. Best outcome is that Darvish exceeds expectations and some other fool pays for his age 33-36 seasons.

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    The dodgers offered darvish a similar deal 6 years 100 million. Darvish chose the cubs, It's on jon heymans twitter timeline

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agree to disagree on "similar." If you think $126M and $100M, each for six years, is similar, than I'd be happy to sell you my car, or my house, for 26% more than the next highest bidder.

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    You're nitpicking semantics. Dodgers offered a similar offer period I meant 6 years 100 million +. and who cares. Scherzer got 210 million,price 217 million,grienke 206 million and yet you're complaining about darvish 126 million which not even close to these other contracts. Unless you're tom ricketts why are you concerned about how much darvish will make.

  • A decent pitcher when he's not on the DL.

  • When you are in business you have to figure short term and long term. Short term must be emphasized I believe if you are the Cubs, 2018, because they are obviously one of the best teams in Baseball.

    They saw Yu Darvish as the best starting pitcher available, and they knew Jake Arrieta better than any other team, good and bad. From my standpoint it was a tossup, but they had to get one or the other.

    They also made an equally interesting call on Wade Davis, opting for the Morrow, Cishek, Duensing combo for equivalent money and fewer years. In February it looks like an intelligent gamble considering Davis’s age and his wearing down in October.

    A question. Is Giminez now the backup catcher? Does Caratini start the year with Iowa as a possible trade chip? The kid certainly can hit. Do they keep him as a backup for Rizzo or Contreras in the event of injury.

    Also, will John Jay do a Fowleresque signing and return to hugs in Mesa in a few days. Everybody loves him as a person. He has mentored Almora and he had a very nice season in 2017. Why not bring him back for a one and done?

  • I am very intrigued how all the new coaching staff will mesh. To have a new bench coach, pitching coach and hitting coach is a lot to take on especially when they have been in the last 3 post seasons.

    I hope the cubs can get back to making good draft selections or these arms in A and AA to progress cause in 3 years when Yu is 34, Lester is 37 , Jose 32 and Kyle 31. I also get that in the next 3 years there is potential for multiple WS.

  • I actually am a fan of the opt out. If Yu kills it the next two years and walks, the Cubs should have reinforcements coming from the minors at that time. And if he kills it the next two years, Cubs will be making some deep playoff runs.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I wouldn't count on replacing Darvish from a pitcher from the minors if he opts out

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I couldn't agree more. With all the pitchers the Cubs have drafted, they will hit the jackpot eventually . Believe it or not one sportswriter has Jake Arrieta going back to the Cubbies. I can't see that happening. I think the Cubs will pick up another draft pick if Jake signs with another team.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I agree. 2 more yrs for Alberto’s to develop & we should know more about how guys like Azolay, De La Cruz, Hatch, Underwood & Lange amongst others will be fitting in or not in...

    And even if he opts out, his money could/would be used for another acquisition whether thru trade or FA. It’s a win-win.

  • Wh toat an awesome organization the Cubs have! Signing (arguably) the best player on the market for just $21M/year? I love how they think and how they are mentally flexible. This signing may not have gone down this way, but it seems that the Cubs decided to zig when a lot of other teams were zagging by deferring to next year to wait to sign the players available then. What a savvy move they made!

  • In reply to HefCA:

    What an awesome....fat fingered with joy ;-)

  • This signing is as it is strategic in its roster implications this year and the next, as it is financially within the confines of the new normal of baseball attempting to self-regulate itself. To the league it sends the message that discipline and detailed valuation of what a pitcher actually provides to the team as all one has to do is compare BOSOX's or AZ's mistake contracts of Price and Greinke to this one. Unfortunately for someone whom we cheered for Jake Arrieta, the market has changed. Esp for a prospective TOR SP'er who logged just 168 IP last year.

    For the Cubs it sends the following message, the Cubs are all in as it has always been for 2018. This is where a once removed WS Champion needs to be and coming off the NLCS which it has been in three consecutive years. They were always in.

    Tactically it comes at good timing as the team comes and assembles in Spring Training where the communal human factor can be effectively engineered. Cubs have brought in at least seven new players onto their team which will mean important integration as Dabynsky tweeted yesterday. But it also informs Montgomery that his role is cemented as swing starter/long reliever/situational reliever. Montgomery might be personally disappointed but so is every 6th starter and he is one of the league's best.

    The team also knows that the FO masterly added to their club replacing Lackey with Chatwood where Lackey recorded a 0.5 fWAR while Chatwood recorded 1.1 fWAR. One year comparison fades with a 2 yr as Lackey recorded a 3 fWAR in 2016 but John was once a TOR pitcher and for the two year contract of $16M per yr while Chatwood is at $12.5 this and next but in any basis the Cubs saved $3.5M for the 5th starter spot.

    Darvish at $21M recorded 3.5 fWAR last year while Arrieta recorded a 2.4 fWAR at a cost of $15.64m. 2016 Darvish had an fWAR 2.7 (coming off an injury year) while Jake was 3.8 fWAR.

    So from last year numbers the Cubs are paying $2M more this year for 1.5 fWAR.

    But using fWAR or bWAR is very inexact when evaluating pitchers, their value and importance to the team game.

    My view are outs in the same venacular when Peter Brand said in the movie Moneyball, that teams should be buying runs, [or outs when it comes to pitchers].

    Starting pitchers in this century's game are about the following:

    A) No blowouts in the first five innings.
    B) Outs recorded after 5th inning, or 16-? these are high leverage outs for pitchers. 16-18 good, 19-21 better, 22-24 excellent. Those outs must be made when the game is either tied or the pitcher's team has the lead. The reason is the development of the bullpen and their defined roles and specialty.

    So let us look at the other big time FA pitcher signing the Cubs, made back in '14, Jon Lester. Jon has made 96 GStarts for the Cubs. He pitched 207, 205 innings in '15, '16, then fell to 180 last year or recording 1776 outs. or 18.2 outs per game over that span at a cost of $39,414 per out. Last year it was more expensive $46,296 an out.

    More importantly Jon recorded an average of 1.2 IP or 3.5 outs above the fifth inning over that time span. Thing is last year Lester pitched just 180 innings, 25 less IP than his two previous years, or about 75 outs where others had to make up? He had five games where he recorded just 40 outs, all less than five innings or less than 3 innings in those starts.

    So back to Darvish (and Montgomery). Last year Darvish averaged exactly 6 IP per game, 4 games under 5 IP'd where if he replicated that this year or an average of $37,634 an out. Short starts happen but with Jon once he didn't get out of the first and another just 1.1 IP.

    This leads us to Montgomery. Monty had two stretches of GS, 8 in the mid season replacing the ailing Hendricks and 6 down the stretch as the Cubs tried to rest their top starters. All told Mony recorded 70 IP in 14 GS, an even 5 IP per start. That is marginally okay but would greatly tax the rest of the bullpen. Looking back to 2016 Monty had seven GS and 35 IP for those starts, very consistent, 5 IP per start. But what Monty offers is pitching multiple innings in relief and with a 34 yr old, 31 yr old a 29 yr old and pair of 28 yr olds there will be injuries and short starts.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    I love your perspective. Thanks for making things so clear and simple to understand.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Guess in my gobbly gook is that no matter how you shake and bake 21st Century baseball and building a roster it comes down to more than names. To buy outs it is expensive. Same for buying runs. It is more than $21M it is $21 to gain outs. How many innings are you expecting? 190? 200? How many of those innings will be over the 5th?

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    I'd love to see the development of the 2 inning reliever. If a team could develop 2 guys like that, it could change the whole bullpen dynamic. I just don't see that happening any time soon with the pitcher/batter match up philosophy employed today.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I agree. I would be happy w developing 2 relievers who can get 4+ outs so the two can combine for 3 innings.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Agree with your premise and appreciate thorough analysis. Game score is a simpler approximation, capturing both the quality and endurance of starts. In 2017, Hendricks averaged 56, Q 54, Jake 54, Lester and Lackey both 51. Darvish 56. By comparison Schzerer 66, Strasburg 62, Kershaw 64. Montgomery averaged a 52. Also consider that he wasn't stretched out but rather thrown in when Anderson imploded. Short outings were primarily due to pitch count limits, some control induced and some because he wasn't stretched out. Had he been #5 this season he likely would have held his own. Chatwood had a 49. Hopefully he excels at sea level. If not, don't be surprised to see MiMo and Chatwood swap roles.

  • If I had to pick a destination for alex cobb I'd say the dodgers.Andrew friedman drafted him and he'd be cheaper than arrieta

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    In reply to bolla:

    He may end up really regretting turning down the Cubs' offer back in November. I'll go with the Brewers, though. They have the money and a real need -- assuming Jake signs in Philly.

  • Looks like there are some rumors Mike Montgomery might get traded. Teams are inquiring.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    That always means "what is being discussed in return?" But Montgomery is quite a talent to have on a WS contending team. I suspect he still gets 12-16 starts this year. Someone is going to get hurt.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    If teams are just inquiring, probably nothing happening because it's unlikely the Cubs could get enough to make up for his value. But it could be that Montgomery is mad as hell about the Darvish signing and the Cubs would rather move him than deal with him being hurt and frustrated throughout the season. That seems like a lose-lose situation because he has a ton of value as a long-man, spot-starter in the bullpen.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    These quotes from a week ago makes me think a trade is possible (although probably not likely).

    "From a physical standpoint, it was hard," Montgomery said Wednesday about last season, when he made 14 starts and appeared in 30 games in relief. "It took a toll on my body, my arm. Making starts and coming out of the bullpen three days later, and pitching multiple innings out of the bullpen, I don't think it's something I want to do long term.

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    This comes as a great time. As remanich said it's right before ST and this is almost like having Fowler walk on the field at the last moment and it energized everyone. Maybe a better comp is when the Astros signed Verlander at literally the minute before the trade deadline. Now going into ST the Cubs have to be energized and empowered. Our pitching staff is better and our position players have had a year to grow. We still have so many under 25 yrs old and they're still learning.
    Great move and timing Theo.
    Go Cubs!!

  • I have a feeling that Gimenez made the club

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