Surely the free agent market isn’t *THIS* crazy, right?
The New York Daily News reports that, “with teams throughout baseball determined to limit the length of long-term contracts, and the righthander coming off that poor World Series performance, the Yankees seem to think it’s possible they could get him for five years, $80-90 million.”
I understand that the market is wonky this year. I understand that a number of suitors are out entirely. I understand that some players are getting less than expected. And I understand that there are some warning signs with Darvish. But the idea that he might have to settle for five years and $80 million? The Mike Leake deal? That’s simply crazy, and it’s not going to happen.
Why is this out there, then? I think you have to consider the possibility that it’s just local optimism in New York, designed to pressure Darvish or simply to create a narrative when they don’t sign him (“boy, he just got a whole lot more than we expected or were comfortable with”).
If the Yankees’ confidence is even remotely in the realm of possible, then it’s impossible to imagine the Cubs – among other teams – not gleefully jumping on a five-year offer in the range or higher. Maybe Darvish desperately wants to be a Yankee and it won’t matter, but we’ve hardly seen any indication of that.
There were suggestions earlier in the offseason that the Cubs might be trying to get Darvish on a four-year deal, and there were rumors that the Cubs were offering Jake Arrieta four years and $110 million. If they were thinking similarly on Darvish – which is a relative steal – the offer would blow this Yankees rumor out of the water.
In the end, I still think Darvish is going to get five years at an AAV closer to $25 million. For the Cubs, that might be a touch more than they want to spend in order to stay under the luxury tax cap, especially if they believe they can get Alex Cobb down to an AAV in the $15 million range (their previously-reported offer to Cobb was just three years and $42 million). If Darvish’s price tag stays in the five-year, $100 million range, though, the Cubs will really, really have to consider jumping at that.