Cubs, Darvish agree to 6-year deal

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Jon Heyman is reporting that the Dodgers offered Darvish a deal in the same range, but he chose to come to Chicago. For one things, Darvish was famously awful in the World Series previous year, and his two bad performances - whether they were because of a slider-proof baseball or because he was tipping his offspeed pitches - probably cost the Dodgers a World Series title.

Last season, Darvish helped the Los Angeles Dodgers reach the World Series after a midsummer trade from the Texas Rangers. Fangraphs Steamer Projections have Darvish posting 3.6 WAR and a 3.82 ERA in 179 innings this season. The deal will reportedly pay Darvish $126 million, and with incentives could go as high as $150 million, and will become official when the hurler undergoes his physical. The four-time All-Star is considered one of the premier pitchers remaining on the free agent market and his arrival will bolster Chicago's formidable starting rotation. First baseman Eric Hosmer, who has yet to sign, is believed to have received multiple seven-year, nine-figure contracts this winter. The top free agent pitcher on the market finally signing could get those wheels turning.

One big signing, of course, does not prove anything, and the industry will still be watching to see how the rest of this late-forming market unfolds. In the World Series against Houston, he was 0-2. Not with the likes of Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw vying for the honors.

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Darvish turns 32 this season, not an ideal age to sign a six-year deal, and one imagines the Cubs had to give him an extra year or two on the deal to break the impasse and get him signed.

The right-hander made 31 starts previous year between the Rangers and Dodgers, pitching to a 3.86 ERA with a near-identical 3.83 FIP. Two years removed from a title, the Cubs obviously fit into that category and addressed a significant need by adding Darvish to their rotation. While Darvish's new deal doesn't officially close the door on a return from Jake Arrieta, it certainly makes it less likely. Regardless of how you order them, a staff including Hendricks, Darvish, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood ranks among the best in the National League.

After missing all of 2015 and the first two months of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, Darvish has shown no ill effects from the procedure. The former two showed only tepid interest due to their commitment to staying under the fake salary cap, and the latter two are likely going to focus on the remaining free agent starters - Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb.

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