Yu Darvish Rumors: Pitcher Has 5-Year Contract Offer; Cubs, Others Interested

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2018

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Yu Darvish, of Japan, watches during batting practice for baseball's World Series against the Houston Astros Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Starting pitcher and free agent Yu Darvish reportedly has been offered at least one five-year contract, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com:

Darvish, 31, went 10-12 between the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017, compiling a 3.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 209 strikeouts in 186.2 innings.

Darvish remains arguably the top free-agent pitcher remaining on the market, though there's a case to be made for the 31-year-old Jake Arrieta. And while it appears a market has materialized for Darvish, given the list of reported suitors, the fact that he has yet to sign with a team well into January suggests he and his agent likely haven't been blown away with any offer to this point.

That has been the general feeling around this offseason's free agency, which has moved at a snail's pace. Things may change shortly, however, as Crasnick noted:

A few factors may be keeping teams from splurging for Darvish. His injury history—he missed the entire 2015 season following elbow surgery and only made 17 starts for the Rangers in 2016—is surely a factor. Plus, offering huge, long-term contracts to players on the wrong side of 30 is always a risk.

He also struggled mightily in the World Series, giving up nine runs and nine hits in just 3.1 innings across two appearances, both losses.

Finally, next winter's crop of free agents is set to include players like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson and maybe Clayton Kershaw, among others. Many teams may be attempting to save money and remain under the luxury tax threshold this season so they can make a run at one of those players.

Darvish is still likely to get a lucrative deal, with as many as five years reported to be on the table. But in years past—and prior to his World Series struggles—it's probable Darvish would have signed an even bigger deal than the one he'll agree to this winter.

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