Please, don't flatter me. With the Dodgers, whom Darvish last pitched for, projected for 99 wins by PECOTA and the NL Central race expected to be competitive, it was clear the Cubs needed to add pitching depth.
As for the Yankees, a source on Saturday said they backed off any pursuit of Darvish in recent weeks after having no luck finding a way to trade Jacoby Ellsbury to free up payroll room, with their priority still to stay under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold. At least we have the Ramblers, right?
The Cubs wanted to bolster the front end of their rotation after losing to the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series in 2017.
Talk about drama, the west-coast version: Kershaw's opt-out hasn't been subject to years of speculation, as has Harper's pending free agency, partly because it's hard to imagine the Dodgers, with all of their money, letting him walk at any price.
The Cubs have moved on from Arrieta now that they have Darvish, eliminating one of the right-hander's options. There's so much to be excited about. Darvish spoke of how much he admired the organization.
The 27-year-old Wood, 16-3 in the regular season, took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning of Game 4 before World Series MVP George Springer's two-out homer. Darvish was a Cy Young finalist with the Texas Rangers in 2013 and made four All-Star game appearances with the Rangers before a short stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers. That is the most free agent pitchers signed by a major league club to major league deals in one off-season since 2010.
However, Darvish had Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in 2015.
With his 832 innings to date, Darvish is 168 innings, or less than a full season, from reaching the 1,000 frames necessary to qualify for baseball's all-time career pitching leaders.
The signing of Darvish might also help to speed up the slow free agent signings during the offseason.
This time previous year, there was talk about of what would become of the starting rotation.
"You could feel the confidence", manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday after the Cubs' first workout for pitchers and catchers. "I think that will only be motivation for him". And with the Cubs' Opening Day roster close to set (!) before the first day even dawns, we will need distractions like these to keep us interested until the real games arrive at the end of March.
Everything seems to be coming together for the Cubs after getting trounced by the Dodgers in the NLCS past year and, in my totally expert and non-biased opinion, I'm having visions of seeing the Commissioner's Trophy make its return to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.
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