Pitcher Yu Darvish, Cubs agree to $126M, 6-year deal

Yu Darvish was the top pitcher on the free-agent market. More

Yu Darvish was the top pitcher on the free-agent market. More

The deal could be worth up to $150 million with incentives, and also reportedly includes opt-out and no-trade clauses.

There of course are better, truer ways to measure a pitcher's performance, as a parade of Theo Epstein wannabes let me know Saturday after I tweeted a simple fact: Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish each lost 24 games over his last three seasons (including 2014 for Darvish, who missed 2015), but Arrieta won twice as many as Darvish in that time - 54 to 27.

This signing is exactly what the Cubs needed to do to beef up their roster, and the inclusion of Darvish should help the team navigate through what has become a much more interesting NL Central division.

Yet reports say the Dodgers still were one of the teams negotiating with Darvish until the Cubs struck a deal.

Darvish, 31, is coming off a solid 2017 campaign where he pitched to a 3.86 ERA and an outstanding 209-58 K/BB ratio over 31 starts between the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The seven free-agent pitchers signed by the Cubs is the 2nd most ever to the 2001 Texas Rangers, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He has a career record of 56-42 with a 3.42 ERA, but is also five years removed from his best season, 2013.

The Cubs have faith that Darvish's World Series flop was the exception, not the rule. He has always been a strikeout pitcher owning a 11.0 K/9 rate (the highest rate in Major League Baseball history among pitchers with 100 career starts), and he is a perennial candidate to hit the 200 strikeout mark. Both of those runs came off of solo home runs.

After a 103-win 2016 season that culminated in a World Series title, the Cubs won 11 fewer games previous year and lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series, but will enter 2018 with a projected rotation of Darvish, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood, which will rank among the best in the league. He let the Astros bat.474 and was torched for nine total runs. His 2.71 ERA ranks second and his.203 opponent average is third-lowest. The final spot will be a Springtime competition between newly-acquired Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery.

The addition of Darvish gives the Cubs a big boost as they try to return to the World Series after winning the title two years ago for the first time since 1908.

Graveman, who went 6-4 with a 4.11 ERA last season, had been seeking $2.6 million, a raise from $545,000.

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