As he was expected to be, Yu Darvish has been a very solid addition to the Texas Rangers’ rotation. Through 16 starts, he’s thrown 102.2 innings with a 3.59 ERA, striking out 117 along the way. He cost the Rangers a pretty penny to acquire – a $51.7 million posting bid and then a $56 million contract – but, so far, I’m sure they’ve been pleased with their acquisition.

Darvish has been something of an interesting subject for Cubs fans looking back on the time when he was made available. We heard that the Cubs were interested – and, man, did we want them to be interested – but, after the Rangers won the post with a bid that reportedly blew everyone else away, it was hard to know just how serious the Cubs were in their interest.

At the time of the bidding, I reported that the Cubs had made a serious bid, one strong enough that they felt they had a chance of winning. Obviously the Cubs did not win the bidding, and, since then, we haven’t heard much about whether they were putting in a token bid, or whether they really wanted to land Darvish.

It turns out it was definitely the latter.

According to Buster Olney, the Cubs finished in second place in the bidding behind the Rangers, who won the post. Olney notes that the Cubs, like every other team, were more than $35 million behind the Rangers’ winning bid of $51.7 million, but it turns out that the Cubs actually out-bid the Blue Jays, who were everyone’s favorite to go nuts on Darvish at the time.

While this has no practical impact on the Cubs today – Darvish is long gone – I do think it’s an important addendum to the Cubs’ offseason, and near-term plans. This front office is, at every turn, bidding hard to acquire talent where they can do it with dollars. And it isn’t just with prospects like Jorge Soler. It’s been true even with 25-year-old Darvish, and 26-year-old Yoenis Cespedes. If the Cubs had landed both of them, do you really think they would have been “rebuilding” for another three years?

  • Cubbie Blues

    Brett, when I first saw the picture I was wondering why you used a picture of a softball player. Man, he looks …

  • Ron

    This is obviously a PR stunt by the penny pinching Ricketts. I mean we have the 3rd highest ticket prices in baseball…..

    • hansman1982

      yes because Olney is a schlup for the Cubs…

    • MightyBear

      I don’t think the Ricketts are penny pinchers. I read (I believe on BN) that the baseball budget was 200 million this year. That’s probably more than the Tribune and Phil Wrigley probably spent combined (except for when Zell wanted to sell the team). Ricketts isn’t a baseball exec so he did what a good owner does – hire the best exec you can get and let him run the team and then hold him accountable.

      • Cubbie Blues

        He was being sarcastic.

  • Steve

    If / when Ricketts brings us a ring…I don’t care how much he charges. You know, drastic times= drastic measures.

    That being said, Yu sure is cute…her hair is fabulous!

  • Joker

    So Ron, you believe the Cubs fed this story to Buster Olney as a PR move? If it was Phil Rogers reporting, I’d say sure, but this is Buster Olney – he doesn’t need to be a tool used by the Cubs or any other club.

    • Ron

      No I was being sarcastic trying to beat the TR haters.

      • hansman1982


        • Joker

          What’s sarcasm?

  • Cerambam

    Is there any history of teams buying prospects from other organizations? Like straight up cash for kid? We should do that.

    • Toby

      usually that falls under the “cash considerations” portion of a trade or if a team absorbs a player’s contract that they are trading, but, at the same time, the commissioner has to approve any trade if there is a huge amount of money involved in any trade.

  • Cubbie Blues

    The Dodgers absolutely went HUGE on Darvish. The $35,000,000 they were over the Cubs bid breaks down to $5,800,000 per year, $36,000 per game or $1,167,000 per start. Wonder if they are kicking themselves a little over that one.

    • hogie

      Rangers, but yeah, that’s why blind bids are pretty foolish.

      • Cubbie Blues


      • Featherstone

        Yeah Rangers absolutely went “balls deep” on their bid, but they have been to the WS the last 2 years and lost last year by a single strike repeatedly. They are as close as you can be to winning it all and if we were that close, we would do anything to make it happen.

  • Featherstone

    While its true that this doesn’t have any considerations on the current club. It does show that the FO and the ownership are using one of their greatest strengths (financial flexibility) to achieve baseball goals. I’m glad that were a big market team willing to act like one, the whole chew gum and walk at the same time schtick.

  • Andrew

    With Darvish and Cespedes, This would have been a much more interesting season.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The Cubs were out-homered by 5 and out doubled/tripled by 11.  Darvish & Cespedes would have put a big dent in that, especially if Cespedes was in CF or RF (with DeJesus in CF).  However, the Cubs were outwalked by 104.  Cespedes has drawn only 14 walks and Darvish has allowed 53 already.  So, they’d still be in that big hole.

  • Rich

    Hey Brett, have you ever written or has it been written about the total Cubs business side. Not just players cost, but management, staff, doctors, trainers, etc. Plus on revenue streams of TV, radio, merchandising, vendor sales, etc..

    I am curious on how much they really work with and with all these signings of draft players and international players. How much is there really coming and going?

    Also, does payroll work 52 weeks / year for players? I would assume it is a fiscal year ending around the end of the season when players contracts would end.


  • Cubbie Blues
    • Rich

      Thanks for those links..That was helpful..still looking for more!!


  • EQ76

    “If the Cubs had landed both of them, do you really think they would have been “rebuilding” for another three years?”

    I’m still not sure we really are rebuilding in the traditional sense. Where we may trade one or two of our top pitchers, I still believe that next payroll will still be in the upper echelon and though we may be building up our farm system, there’s no reason why we can’t still go after a few FA’s in the years to come and compete a little sooner than we think.

    We definitely have the money to spend and with Theo on a 4 year contract, I highly doubt they want to wait 3-4 years to be relevant. I think we’ll be significantly better next year.

  • rocky8263

    As I understand baseball payroll the players salary is divided by the weeks they actually play and paid bi monthly durin the time they play. I don’t think I explained that right. They get paid only during the season.

  • Skiz

    I’m not sure how it was anything more than a token bid.

    We bid around 15 million. If anyone told you that was our bid at the time, we would have been laughed at.

    I’m not sure I buy Olney on it though.

    • Brett

      If that’s the range that everyone else bid, and the Cubs were the highest among that group, how can you call it a token bid? No one expected a team to top Matsuzaka’s number because there were rumors that Darvish wouldn’t sign if a team did that.