He’s not necessarily one of the most widely-followed big name rumor reporters out there, but I’ve noticed over the years that when Mark Feinsand offers something up, it’s more often spot on than not. As an example, I remember last year in July, when the Cubs-Zach-Britton rumors first appeared, it was not something that was generally on peoples’ radars, and might have been easy to dismiss. That was Feinsand, and, turns out, it was 100% correct.
That is not to say that what a reporter is hearing is always correct, especially when what he’s hearing is more on the predictive side of things than the certain side of things, but when Feinsand talks about Yu Darvish and the Cubs, I listen:
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) February 9, 2018
“Everybody that I talk to seems to believe he’s headed to … Chicago. The Cubs are the team that’s sort of laying in the weeds, and he’s the replacement for [Jake] Arrieta there.”
To be sure, “everybody” could simply be wrong. But Feinsand’s a veteran in this business, clearly has a lot of contacts in the game, and they’re all thinking the same thing. It’s notable.
Moreover, here’s the thing about a comment like that: it squares extremely well with everything we think we know about this pursuit. Whether it’s the reports about the Cubs holding back, for now, at just four years, or other teams like the Brewers and Twins going to five years and $100 million+, “laying in the weeds” is evocative of a team that knows they are a guy’s preferred destination. The Cubs have no reason to increase their offer *until and unless* it’s that final increase that gets the deal done that day. Let all the other offers develop and finalize, and then you get to be the final team at the table. It’s a powerful position to be in, and the Cubs appear to be doing their best to hold onto that position in these negotiations.
One other interesting bit from Feinsand there is that he says it seems like Darvish prefers a larger market (not something we’ve heard before), which is part of why he’s holding out hope that the Dodgers or Yankees could jump in, but, according to Feinsand, it doesn’t seem like they are going to do it.
The question on that front, then, as it’s been for weeks: how long will Darvish wait before he decides those teams are not going to be able to make trades to clear payroll, and it’s time to sign? Pitchers and catchers report next week around baseball, and if he wants to be in the door early on with his new team, we’re quickly approaching the zero hour. (That, of course, applies to the Cubs, too.)