If the departure of Theo Epstein in mid November was not a clear sign of things to come, today's trade of Yu Darvish certainly heralds the arrival of a rebuilding phase for the Chicago Cubs. It has been widely reported that the Cubs and Padres agreed on a deal sending Darvish and Caratini to sunny San Diego, fomer Brewer Zach Davies to the Cubs rotation, and two pairs of young shortstops and outfielders to Cubs' minor league facilities for years to come.
Michael Rucker (five innings) and Tom Hatch (four no hit innings) combined to hurl a three-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts, but neither team could push across a run, and so the Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies AA affiliate) and the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) played to a scoreless tie on Field #5, and the Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies AAA affiliate) blistered five HR en route to a 13-5 drubbing of the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Cubs) on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training game action Sunday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
Zack Short drilled a two-run double for the I-Cubs in a losing cause.
Yu Darvish came over to the Riverview backfields from MLB Camp and got the start for Iowa, going 4.1 IP (71 pitches - 47 strikes), and allowing three runs on five hits (a HR on the very first pitch of the game, a double, and three singles), no walks, one HBP, two wild pitches, eight strikeouts, and 1/4 GO/AO. Despite allowing the three runs, it actually was a decent outing for Yu.
INF Daniel Descalso, who has been nursing a sore shoulder, also came over to the Minor League side from MLB Camp. Descalso batted second in each of the first six innings, going a combined 0-5 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored, and two strikeouts (one swinging and one looking). He looked a bit rusty at the plate. He played 2B for three innings, then moved to 3B for two innings, and then served as a DH, before retiring to the clubhouse in the 7th.
Here are the abridged box scores from the game (Cubs players only)
Ken Rosenthal is reporting 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.
The Rangers make their splash of the offseason by putting up a $51.7M posting fee just for the right to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. They now have 30 days to work out a contract. What this means for the Cubs is that I doubt the Rangers are giving up any good prospects to land Matt Garza.