Yesterday, a good friend of mine got engaged and it was not until the very moment I walked into his post-engagement celebration party and said my congratulations that I was immediately met with the news that the Cubs had signed the top free agent starting pitcher of the offseason, Yu Darvish, to a six-year, $126M deal.
We had joked throughout the offseason that it was going to go down like that (when I was seeing Hamilton, when Brett was getting surgery, when Luis was backstage at a Taylor Swift concert), but I didn’t think it actually would. Fortunately, Luis and Brett (who was about to depart for his daughter’s birthday party) were on the ball and got you covered with Darvish stuff all day yesterday: the news, the roster/rotation impact, the highlights. Brett also got into the related Jake Arrieta impact a bit this morning.
- We’ll have much more on Darvish as the day (and weeks) goes on. But for now … just inject this directly into my veins:
The rival Cubs have thwarted the Brewers' bid for a top starter twice in the past six and a half months. First Quintana at the Trade Deadline, now Darvish.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) February 10, 2018
- Darvish became at least the third player to turn down a nine-figure contract offer from the Brewers, joining Prince Fielder and Zack Greinke. I believe the age-old industry adage applies here, if I may: SUCKS TO SUCK, losers. I kid, I kid! But don’t get me or McCalvy wrong, the Brewers did just miss out on a realistic target to fill a position of need during a season in which they wish to contend – they have to brush themselves off and readjust.
- According to McCalvy, they remain in the market for another starting pitcher and that includes Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, and others (i.e., via trade). I suppose, if you were in play for one of the top, most expensive guys, why wouldn’t you be in for the rest?
- And as noted, that doesn’t just include free agents:
brewers seem intent on adding a pitcher and are connected to odorizzi and arrieta. cobb and archer, too. lynn would make sense, as well.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 11, 2018
- My gut says that the Brewers ultimately go the trade route, because it’s the path of least resistance (they definitely have a glut of talented outfielders, but they don’t definitely have the desire/ability to spend what it’ll take to get someone like Arrieta.
- But to that end, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that both the Brewers and the Cardinals have made offers to Arrieta (dun dun dunnnnnn!). I’d still be surprised if the Brewers are willing to pay what it’ll ultimately take to get Arrieta, even if their desire to add in the rotation is (publicly) much larger than the Cardinals … but I can see the Cardinals doing it. They have money to spend, plenty of luxury tax space, and, by signing Arrieta, they wouldn’t have to force Alex Reyes back into the rotation sooner than planned (in fact, they could even then keep him in the bullpen all season long, while addressing their closer/back-end reliever problem for a year in the process). Actually, gross, that’s a really good idea. Hopefully they’re not reading this post right now or hacking into my computer.
- As for the Brewers’ ability to land a starter like Chris Archer before the start of the season, here’s what the Rays were apparently asking for from the Cubs earlier this winter:
— Matthew Aung (@MatthewS_Aung) February 10, 2018
- Logically, then, it’ll probably take even more than Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana to get a deal done for Archer. From what I can tell, though, asking the Cubs to give up both Javy Baez and Addison Russell is really just a signal that the Rays are unwilling to move Archer – at all – at this time (or, well, at least to the Cubs). That sort of request is not just a high price to pay – in terms of value – but the Rays also had to know full well that it would’ve left the Cubs without a shortstop. It wasn’t a “real” ask. And, thus, the Brewers will be hard pressed to get Archer.
- In case you were holding out hope that the Darvish signing was going to kick free agency, at long last, into gear, hold up. Ken Rosenthal writes that while it might spur some activity, Opening Day might be the realistic deadline for many of Scott Boras’ clients. Yeesh.
- Rosenthal also writes that the Twins, having missed out on Darvish, are more likely to turn their attention to Lance Lynn and/or Alex Cobb. In addition to the Brewers, Cardinals, and Twins, the Mets, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Phillies are all teams fighting over the remaining, but lesser free agent starters (Andrew Cashner, Jason Vargas, Jaime Garcia, Jeremy Hellickson, and John Lackey).
- At MLB.com, Jon Morosi writes that the Dodgers might still be working to add a right-handed starter, and Jake Arrieta could be in play (ditto Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb). Obviously, they’d still have to move some money around to make it happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved enough to get Cobb into the fold. And remember, the Dodgers’ President, Andrew Friedman, was the Rays GM when the team selected Alex Cobb back in 2006 and for the first three seasons of Cobb’s Major League career (before leaving for Los Angeles). The Yankees, meanwhile, have been monitoring Lance Lynn’s market, but also have to move some money to make it work.
- Matt Snyder looks at the qualifying offer do-overs – as in, knowing what they do now, which qualified free agents would have accepted the one-year, $17.4 million offer for 2018 if they could do it again? I think it’s a fun topic, but Brett doesn’t agree with Snyder’s conclusions …
- Brett: For me, Greg Holland is an obvious shoulda-accepted (we kinda even thought it back then), with Mike Moustakas and Lance Lynn my other two current guesses for guys who are at risk of not getting a better deal. I think it’s quite clear now that he’s not going to get a monster deal like Davis (whether he got that offer and rejected it or not). Time will tell, but look at what Addison Reed got by waiting – and he wasn’t tied to draft pick comp!
- Michael: For me, it’s not as clear on Holland. For one thing, reports suggested that he did get the same 3/$52M offer from the Rockies (the one they gave Wade Davis), so clearly he was right in valuing himself higher than the qualifying offer of one year and $17.4M. Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but the real mistake (I mean, if we’re getting hypothetical, let’s get hypothetical) is not accepting that Rockies deal, if it existed. In other words, he was right to pass up the qualifying offer, he just screwed up after that.
- Brett: This is not a response to you, Michael, but since we were going back and forth – isn’t it so much more fun to have discussions like this from the comfort of a fully completed, and fully successful Cubs offseason?
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.