Update: Cubs sign Darvish to 6 year, $126m deal

Ken Rosenthal is that the Cubs signed Yu Darvish to a six year, $126m free agent contract. The year-by-year breakdown is not yet know, but the $21m AAV means the Cubs remain $11m under the 2018 Luxury tax cap, with only the back-up catcher spot remaining to be accounted for.

Earlier this offseason, the Cubs signed Chris Gimenez, Darvish’s old personal catcher with the Rangers, to a minor league deal. The Darvish signing means Gimenez will likely be the Cubs opening day back-up catcher. The terms of Gimenez’s deal are unknown. It is possible the deal included bonuses for making the club that would increase his contract above league minimum salary. The will be updated with Darvish’s year-by-year breakdown and Gimenez’s salary once known.

Update (2/11/18)

Darvish's deal apparently includes an opt-out clause after . The payroll tracker will be updated when terms are confirmed. Also, Chris Gimenez's salary is now being reported to be should he make the team out of spring training. This takes the Cubs to under the luxury tax cap. The Cubs have still not set salaries for players under team control (Contreras, Baez, Montgomery, Schwarber, Edwards, Happ, & Almora). I expect raises due to these players will eat up another $500,000-750,000. The Cubs should therefore enter 2018 with about $9m in cap space.

Update (2/13/18)

Bob Nightengale is now year-by-year numbers on the Darvish contract (below). The deal also includes full no-trade rights during the first two years, followed by partial no-trade rights thereafter.

  • 2018 - $25m
  • 2019 - $20m
  • 2020 - $22m
  • 2021 - $22m
  • 2022 - $19m
  • 2023 - $18m


Weird to type this but 6/$126 seems light. Wasn't Cobb asking for $20mil per year earlier this off season? Has there been any indications if the Cubs management see the Luxury tax threshold as a hard cap or not? They reset this year so if I understand correctly the penalties for going back over shouldn't be exorbitant.

it is light. if this deal was signed last season we'd probably be looking at 25m/yr as a starting point. 21m a year with an opportunity to bring it to 25m is a new normal for this type of talent. hell, lester got 26m a year back in 2015 and darvish is arguably better or at least similar talent at the time of signing their contracts.

Lester isn't getting 26MM AAV over the life of the contract. He was front-loaded, just like Heyward and now Yu.

lester's getting 25.83m a year aav...i just pumped it up to 26m for the hell of it...close enough.

Here's how I would set up the rotation. Hendricks, Lester, Yu, Q, Chatwood. R, L, R, L, R No ace but a deep collection of 1b or 2a quality of starters. The other idea I had was to put Hendrick after Darvish like a good change up after a hard fast ball.

IIRC, Hendricks seems to start out of the gate slow, but picks it up after April. His career ERA in April is 4.40 -- his second worse month is June at 3.88 -- every other month is in the 2's (god bless him!). Maybe he doesn't like the cold weather, etc. I'd be alright starting him lower in the rotation and moving up as the season progresses.

Once you account for $24 million in incentives, the opt-out, the no-trade clause, and the February discount, it actually is a little more than I would have predicted. I imagine this was the Cubs pushing a few extra dollars into the offer at the end (or maybe including the no-trade clause) to seal the deal.

Is there an opt out in this contract?

Jerry Crasnick @jcrasnick A source says that Yu Darvish's opt out with the #Cubs is "earlier'' than three years into his contract. (That would lead me to believe it's 2 years, but I don't take anything for granted at this point). ---- ...that leads me to question how front-loaded the contract might be...not that the cubs don't have the loot to spend.

I suspect it is front loaded. I’ve been saying the Cubs should offer him an opt out after year 2 so he can potentially try FA again after the Harper class. If they front loaded it enough (say $28M per in years 1-2) then he has a chance to get closer to the money he really wanted if he performs well and the market looks better in 2 years. He’d just have to beat 4/$70M, which wouldn’t be a given but plausible for sure. The Cubs also got the AAV down to $21M for luxury tax purposes, so they won’t care if the actual layout is $28M or whatever in years 1 and 2.

Hmm...a starting pitcher opting out at age 33. Hard to believe anyone would give him 4 years at that point, but, whatever. Adbert will be ready then, anyway.

unless those 2 years are stupidly insanely overpriced...though that don't matter much because the cubs got the $$ to spend...it's hard to hate the deal on it's surface. hell, given the cubs current payroll situation, i wouldn't blink even if the first 2 years were 25-28m guaranteed. hopefully he doesn't rupture his shoulder or something else like that within those 2 years.

Won’t there be a new CBA in two years?

BOB R: The current CBA expires December 1, 2021.

jeff passan confirms the opt-out is after 2 years...still no news on the per-year $$$ breakdown...especially the first 2 years.

the amount of c.gimenez stories out there, including an article on cubs.com and 2 tweets on him by c.muskat (who didn't write the cubs.com article) is kinda pushing the narrative that c.gimenez is heavily favored to break camp as the backup catcher. it makes sense even if darvish didn't show up on the team. v.caratini is an interesting option, but he probably won't suffer from a full workload in AAA rather than sitting on the bench 2/3rd of the season in the majors. he turns 25 in august, will probably work at 1st as well as C, and he should get a few up/down trips to the majors anyway...he may even see some OF work.

seems that the major 2018 "top prospect" lists have all come out...mlb/baseball america/baseball prospectus 0 cubs in the top 100 for mlb + baseball america a.alzolay is #95 on baseball prospectus's top 101 list

according to ken rosenthall, darvish would have to win "multiple cy young awards" to fully realize the 150m on his contract. it's looking more and more like this is a 2-year rental with darvish getting some suck/injury insurance on the long end of the deal. still no word on contract $$ breakdown, especially the cost of those first 2 years. getting a #1/#2 quality starter on a 2 year deal on the back end of his prime is still neat. plus, the cubs can afford it if it happens to be highly priced.

Seems like some brilliant contract tinkering by the Cubs' FO in a dysfunctional free agent market. The only way this deal goes South is if Darvish does badly, and his stuff seems too good for that. If he kicks ass then there is a reasonable chance someone else gets saddled with his declining years.

Per Bob Nightengale: $25MM in 2018, $20MM in 2019, $22MM apiece in 2020 and 2021, $19MM in 2022, and $18MM in 2023.

22.5m a year (assuming he splits after 2 years)...killer deal to get a talent like that on a short leash deal for the end of his assumed "peak" i was expecting something closer to 50m paying out over those first 2 years.

And if he doesn't opt out, the last couple of years aren't that unreasonable for a Lackey-esque veteran backend starter. Also, with so many contracts ending after 2020 (Lester, Q, Hendricks, Chatwood), it might be nice to have at least one SP under control while providing some continuity for *hopefully* a rookie starter or two to debut around that time. Would hate to be in position to have to find 5 new starters in one offseason.

Although the full "no trade" only runs through the 2021 season, the automatic "10/5 full no trade" will kick-in after the 2022 season (2022-23 off-season) and will continue through to the end of the contract. So the only time Darvish can be traded will be a one-year window beginning with the 2021-22 off-season through the 2022 season.

Good point Phil... I like how the contract is structured, just lightly front-loaded as to not make the incentive too strong to opt-out if he's pitching at a high level after the next 2 years if salaries don't skyrocket again.. Also, if he does stick around, the ability to trade him after the 2021 season or during the '22 season with only $19M and $18M owed for his last 2 years can really benefit the Cubs in the end, especially considering that MLB will be operating under a new CBA and maybe there will be some advantages to moving him elsewhere by then.

Agree with crunch -- I thought it would be at least $50M for the first 2 years, which would lower the later year payouts to make opting out more attractive. As it stands, after 2 years he will be a 33-year old SP with a 4-year deal worth $81MM. Not sure he'll be able to beat that on the open market, even with 2 good years.

the hitters showing up early is good stuff. ian happ is in AZ early for the golf, though...he's not fooling anyone.

Jon Heyman/Fanrag is reporting that Darvish's NTC begins as a full no-trade clause and shrinks to a 12-team NTC over the life of the deal.

long-time mlb starter estaban loaiza busted with 20 kilos of heroin/coke (45-ish pounds). dude made 44m playing baseball...not counting endorsements and other revenue. dude...wtf...

"cocaine is a helluva drug."

Nice deal,Cubs. On their way again!

schwarber seems to have shed a bit of that "baby fat" and has shown up in mesa looking cut as hell with massive muscular arms. 2nd spring in a row he's exchanged some of that fat for muscle.

I don't have a link to the article but I believe he stated his intention was to work on becoming a better "hitter" vs slugger (the power will still be there). Sounds like a good plan to me.

Show him Jim Edmonds tapes, flick it out to leftcenter for the homers

Indeed. You could see Edmonds come up, take aim and try to loft a fly ball to the 368-foot mark in left-center. If nothing else, try it with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs.

There was a lot of press about this earlier in the year. Some reporter or another followed him around on his training routine. He's a natural hitter in my opinion - his trouble with high heat should really not impede his future progress much - seems very fixable.

really interested to see what the contracts for arrietta, cobb, and lynn are going to look like. they cannot be stoked about this darvish contract.

Promise you the lawyers had a large hand in risk management regardless of the value some place on a fan's behavior while seated in three figure chairs and purchasing offerings to the tune of $50 per customer.

1- montgomery will be treated/extended as a starter this spring 2- wrigley field is increasing it's netting so more people can feel safe texting and playing candy crush on their phones during games

Almora: "We were sitting right here and I was like, 'Hey, I may lead off this year. You have to teach me.' [Rizzo] goes, 'I am the best leadoff hitter in the world.' I said, 'All right, you do it then.'" lulz. .294/.367/.667 lifetime (60 PA, 59 of them last season...5hr, 2 doubles, 1 triple)

1. Rizzo 2. Bryant 3. Schwarber 4. Contreras 5. Happ 6.-9. etc. who cares? I'd be fine with Rizzo leading off at least until you can get .340+ OBP out of one of the other guys with better legs/less power (Happ, Almora, Russell, Heyward, even Zobrist).

Assuming both players are healthy going into the regular season, who gets more starts in April: Zobrist or Happ? I hope it's Happ but see Joe pulling the trigger for Zobrist instead.

I also hoping for Happ, but my guess is they will want to check out Zobrist for the first two months of the year to see if last year's performance was a blip or a new reality for him.

Appears that Zobrist is on board with the #1 goal of winning championships first, his individual playing time lower in the priorities http://www.bleachernation.com/2018/02/19/supe... I assume Addy Russell is aware that he's no longer the automatic starter at SS that he was entering 2017. It is interesting that in the first day of camp, Happ started with the outfielders but figure he will still get a lot (majority?) of work at 2B this spring Also, right on cue, Zobrist held out of first full team workouts due to a "little back tweek."

How about Heyward?

Pencil him as your full time starter at the #9 position, but as always, #1 in your hearts!

As long as it's pencil, I'm putting Bryant in right, Happ at third and Heyward in center. Heyward hits like a CF. Let him lead off. He had a better-than-.350 OBP over six seasons before he came to the Cubs with power expectations that were tied to his contract.

montgomery wants some chapman insurance... "Mike Montgomery told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that he would like assurances that his arm will be protected if he's not a part of the rotation." wonder if they'll just end up trading him to a team that will use him as a starter... he's blocked this year and d.smyly is on deck in the pecking order for 2019. did anyone keep the receipt for t.chatwood? maybe he can be returned.

Mike Montgomery will be used as a starter in Spring Training and then I suspect he will be traded as soon as the Cubs get a reasonable offer. Montgomery doesn't seem to have the mental approach required to be an effective SP/RP "swing-man." And while Tyler Chatwood will be the Cubs #5 starter in 2018, I would say he is a good candidate to get traded (and clear some payroll) post-2018 if Drew Smyly comes back 100% (or close to 100%) in September or if one or more of the Cubs young starting pitching prospects emerges as a legit MLB-ready starter in 2018.

The Philadelphia Phillies have reportedly expressed interest in LHP Mike Montgomery, and if so the Phils actually have what the Cubs would probably want in return... an MLB-ready SP with minor league options left who could be stashed at AAA until needed: Ben Lively Nick Pivetta Jake Thompson Zach Eflin Vince Velasquez Mark Leiter Jr Eflin (right shoulder strain) and Velasquez (finger surgery on pitching hand) finished the 2017 season on the 60-day DL so their rehab would have to be monitored during Spring Training before striking a deal, but the others were healthy at the close of the season. The Phillies also have a couple of MLB-ready LHRP on the 40 who have minor league options left and who could be kept on the back-burner at AAA: Zac Curtis Hoby Milner

PHIL: What are your thoughts on the optimal time for a possible Montgomery trade being at or near the deadline? The Cubs would have a clearer picture of how ready guys like Smyly, Alzolay or Tseng are, and if they are that could free the Cubs up to seek out a higher ceiling pitcher at the lower levels. Is it too risky to go for a pitcher who's further away? Sticking with the Phillies, I was thinking someone like Franklyn Kilome or Kevin Gowdy. Your thoughts?

K-DUB: I doubt that the Cubs would trade Montgomery until sometime close to Opening Day, and then only if all five of the Cubs MLB starters are healthy and ready to go at the end of Spring Training. Although he's tried to back-track some of the things he has said, I don't think that Montgomery really wants to be a RP/SP "swing-man" again in 2018, and that would be his roll with the Cubs if all five starters are healthy. Even though that role has value to the club, Montgomery will not be able to make any significant bucks in arbitration in the swing role, and he will be first-time arbitration-eligible post-2018. It's possible that the Cubs would pursue a younger pitcher with a higher ceiling who is further away from MLB in a potential Montgomery trade, but with Eddie Butler being out of minor league options, the Cubs biggest need right now is an MLB-ready starting pitcher who can be optioned to AAA, stay stretched-out as a starter, and be available for recall as needed this season. Jen-Ho Tseng is probably one, but Adbert Alzolay had only seven starts at AA in 2017 and very likely isn't ready yet, and the jury is still out on the other Cubs AAA SP candidates (Alec Mills, Rob Zastryzny, Luke Farrell, Daniel Camarena, and Duane Underwood Jr).

PHIL: Thanks! I was wondering about waiting to entertain trading Montgomery until near the trade deadline in July. Those 5 1/2 months could give the Cubs the necessary time to evaluate possible replacement options like Tseng, Alzolay, Smyly, Mills, etc. Then, if they deem one (or more) of them ready, they wouldn't need to add a AAA ready guy with options and could go for the younger, higher upside type prospect. Would love to hear your thoughts...

K-DUB: I suspect that if Montgomery is traded it would not be before the last week or so of Spring Training, because Montgomery would be a starter if something bad happens to Lester, Hendricks, Darvish, Quintana, or Chatwood during Spring Training. But if he's not traded by Opening Day, I guess Montgomery could be traded at the trade deadline or even next off-season. I just think because he will be stretched-out as a starter during Spring Training, he will have more value to other clubs in need of a SP at the end of Spring Training than he would later in the season after being moved back to the bullpen.

Thank you, sir.

AZ PHIL - How's the Tommy John situation looking down there? I know Justin Steele is done for 2018, but how are Corey Black, Will Remillard, (both on round 2) and Drew Smyly (obviously not as far along as the other 2) doing?

Corey Black @CblackCHC Feb 15 Bullpen had a little wrinkle today and it was pretty fun I must say. I haven’t throwin into a net with targets since I was 10 but today was definitely fun!

cubbies.4ever: Both Drew Smyly and Justin Steele are in the Pitchers Rehab Group and will be at Extended Spring Training. How soon they will be ready to pitch to hitters remains to be seen. I suspect Steele will learn a lot being with a veteran LHSP like Smyly every day for the next several months. I haven't seen Will Remillard but he's probably around somewhere. I don't know if his career is over or not. Hopefully he can come back 100%, but back-to-back TJS over a period of 13 months is tough. Corey Black could be ready by Opening Day, but I would not be surprised if he begins the season at EXST and then moves up to Iowa after the weather warms up. He apparently is progressing nicely, but there is no reason to rush him as long as he's getting his work somewhere.

Thanks Phil, I have always found TJS data interesting if you are interested there's a website that has every known player to have it even as low as high school, It has a lot of background on the players and comparisons of all players level, POB, age, NCAA, recovery time, etc https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gQujX...

Could be quite right there, Chapman always seemed to be a bridge to another be it a system player who emerges or Smyly who becomes healthy and ascends to his potential.As for Montgomery as March 20th approaches there will be teams drooling about a $2M SP'er under control.

"Cubs signed RHP Shae Simmons to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training." *shrug* closer upside, but took a step backwards last year and has a really hard time staying healthy. combining his workload through all levels in any season he's only thrown more than 50 innings a season once in his career, in 2013. split contract...120K prorated in the minors, 750K prorated in the majors

Thinking of one year of comparable to Neil Ramirez coming in during the mid season and giving a burst to the bullpen when needed.

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  • crunch 8 hours 52 min ago (view)

    semi-interesting winter league note...

    trey mcnutt (yes, that guy) is having a hell of a winter league in mexico (one of the less talented winter leagues) so far as a closer.  15.2ip 8h 4bb 24k, 0.57 era.

    giants signed him to a minor league deal a couple weeks ago.  he never went anywhere.  he's been consistently playing ball in the minors and indie league ball since he was last a noteworthy player.  last season he played in the OAK minor league system.  30 years old now...


  • jdrnym 15 hours 49 min ago (view)

    Brad Brach signs with the Mets for $850K but the Cubs are paying $500K, per Ken Rosenthal. Wasn't his 2020 club only supposed to be on the hook for league minimum?


  • crunch 16 hours 26 min ago (view)

    when he got to the mets he suddenly learned how to throw with control (small sample size etc).  last year was not a fun bullpen year...


  • crunch 18 hours 43 min ago (view)

    Yeah, I've made myself familiar with a lot of the changes, but AZP's posts have both added more information and cleared up stuff I didn't fully grasp.  I appreciate the hell out of it.  Thanks Phil, thanks TCR.


  • bradsbeard 20 hours 25 min ago (view)

    Looks like Savant has his breaking pitch classified as a curve while Fangraphs calls it a slider. Suppose by ST he could have made everything over in the pitching lab, so who knows!


  • Arizona Phil 20 hours 42 min ago (view)

    Again, none of these rules (including the one that requires a pitcher to face a minimum of three batters or else record the final out of the inning) have been officially approved.  

    I think one possible caveat that might be added to the three-batter minimum rule would be that the pitcher can be replaced prior to facing three batters or recording the final out of the inning if the other team puts up a pinch-hitter. 


  • Arizona Phil 20 hours 46 min ago (view)

    Ptchers would also be treated differently under the new rules as far as the Injured list and Optional Assignment to the minors is concerned, with pitchers having to spend at least 15 days (up from 10 days) on the Injured List before being eligible to be reinstated and at least 15 days (up from 10 days) on Optional Assignment before being eligible to be recalled (inless the pitcher is being recalled to replace a pitcher on the 26-man roster who has been placed on an MLB inactive list).  


  • Arizona Phil 20 hours 46 min ago (view)

    SONICWIND: As the rule is proposed, prior to the start of each MLB regular season a club must designate all players on its Opening Day 26-man roster as either a "pitcher" or a "position player." A maximum of 13 can be designated as pitchers (14 pitchers max when rosters expand from 26 to 28 beginning on 9/1). 

    For players who come up during the season, the club must designate the player as either a pitcher or a position player when the player is placed on the MLB active list roster. 


  • Arizona Phil 20 hours 58 min ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Fangraphs shows the CT as his primary pitch in 2018 with the SL & FB (and an occasional CH) as his secondary pitches, with no CV at all. I guess I'll find out for sure in Spring Training. 


  • Sonicwind75 22 hours 15 min ago (view)

    AZ Phil, thank you as always for the detailed information.  How is the "cannot be a pitcher" part of the rule to be enforced?  With a few two way players and the increasing amount of mop up innings being handled by position players it seems like there could be a gray area there.  What is preventing a team from stashing an athletic relief pitcher as a "5th outfielder" that could be a pinch runner and play a passable OF when needed but could also provide them with extra relief pitcher.  Anytime I hear of a new rule I always think of how Bill Billichek would circumvent it t


  • bradsbeard 22 hours 15 min ago (view)

    AZ Phil, looking around Baseball Savant, it looks like Winkler now primarily throws a low 90s cutter, a 4-seamer that he throws a little harder (but is less effective), a curve and a sinker. The slider and change haven't been a major part of his repertoir the last two years. The cutter has been really effective the last two years but it looks like he lost command/effectiveness of his 4-seemer and curve last year For whatever reason  


  • bradsbeard 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    They just signed this guy:



  • Hagsag 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    There seems to be a lot of player movement so far. Too bad the Cubs aren't involved.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    Beginning in 2019, a club must wait a minimum of seven days before it can place a player who was claimed off Outtright Assignment Waivers during the off-season back onto waivers, so because he was claimed off waivers on Wednesday 11/27, yesterday (Wednesday 12/4) was the first day the Cubs could place LHRP C. D. Pelham back onto Outright Assignment Waivers, and so tomorrow (Friday 12/6) is the first day the Cubs can send Pelham outright to the minors (if he was placed back onto waivers yesterday).


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 15 hours ago (view)

    A Competitive Balance draft slot can be traded only during a period of time starting on December 2nd and extending up until two hours prior to the MLB First-Year Player Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft), so don't be surpised if these draft picks are traded during the off-season.

    Keep in mind that the slot cannot be traded for cash unless it is a financial adjustment made to offset the salary of one or more of the players involved in the trade.


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 15 hours ago (view)

    The active list roster limit changes scheduled to go in effect in 2020 have not yet been officially approved. Same goes for the three-batter minimum (or else record the third out in the inning) for relief pitchers.