The big free agent news of the day was the Chicago Cubs landing righty Yu Darvish on a six-year, $150 million deal. Ken Rosenthal first reported the deal, and then also noted the Yankees never made the 31-year-old an offer.
The Yankees had been connected with Darvish throughout the offseason. Multiple reports indicated the Yankees had some interest, but it did not progress to the point of a formal offer. Getting under the luxury tax threshold has been a priority for the Yankees, and Darvish’s $21 million tax hit proved too expensive.
Darvish began his career with the Texas Rangers, where he made 122 starts to a 52-39 record and 3.42 ERA (3.30 FIP). The Rangers traded him at the 2017 Trade Deadline to the Los Angeles Dodgers, getting prospects Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy and Brendon Davis in return. He had mixed results in Dodger Blue, posting a 3.44 ERA (3.38 FIP) in the regular season.
The postseason is where it all fell apart for Darvish. After wins against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs, the righty imploded against the eventual world champion Houston Astros. He gave up nine runs in 3.1 innings divided between two starts. Reports indicated the Astros had picked up on Darvish “tipping” his pitches, or giving away what he was going to throw next by some sort of mechanical inconsistency.
Darvish’s contract reportedly has a player option (or opt-out) after the 2019 season, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. No word has come out so far on how the money is structured in the deal. Reports also indicated that $126 million of the deal is guaranteed, with incentives making up the rest of its value. The Cubs invested in a very valuable piece in their rotation, while the Yankees avoided an expensive option that would put the luxury tax plan in jeopardy.