Although we’ve known of the Cubs’ interest in free agent Yu Darvish for over a month now, given that the front office travelled to Texas to meet with the 31-year-old righty, we haven’t heard much of anything in the way of offers or negotiations since then.
Tonight, an AP source tells the New York Times that the Cubs are currently in “active talks” with Darvish. That, via someone with direct knowledge of the talks, again, per the AP.
That might not sound like a groundbreaking report (and, to be sure, you’ve gotta keep it in context), but considering that this is coming immediately after the signing of catcher Chris Gimenez, with whom Darvish is close, and that signing is specifically referenced by the New York Times in its report, there’s reason to be paying extra close attention here. Consider the likely chronology: reports of the Cubs signing Gimenez come out, the connect to Darvish is discussed publicly, and then people dig in trying to find out if there’s a relationship there to the Cubs’ Darvish pursuits. From there, someone gets the right source, who says something like, “Well, actually, yeah, talks are happening right now.”
I am not telling you that it means the Gimenez signing is definitely a part of a Darvish signing – or even a direct enticement to get Darvish to sign. But I am willing to bet that the two are not entirely unrelated, nor is the timing of this report and the Gimenez signing. I’m guessing that there’s a lot of communication going on behind the scenes.
Further smoke? Consider the sudden uptick in Darvish-related rumors, including the Brewers suddenly – publicly – entering the fray this weekend, and then Jerry Crasnick reporting that there’s a five-year offer out there from an unnamed team. Doesn’t that sound like the kind of stuff that would be coming out as the final teams engage in more serious negotiations?
We have yet to get a firm feel for how far the Cubs would go on Darvish, who was expected to land a six-year deal in the $150 million range coming into the offseason, though obviously the market has been a little wonky since then. He projects very well in the coming years, and figures to provide the most value during the time when the Cubs will still be in their seven-year competitive window.