It’s the news we feared, but also the news we expected: Yu Darvish’s first season with the Cubs is over.
Darvish has a “stress reaction” in his elbow. Pre cursor to a fracture. Ligament is fine. Theo says it’s a tough one to diagnosis. Alec Mills had it last year. Took time to diagnose then.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 21, 2018
MRI shows a stress reaction on right elbow and triceps strain for Yu Darvish and he'll be shut down for six weeks and miss the rest of the season.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) August 21, 2018
The injury is another repetitive-stress-type injury in the bones in the elbow area, and in my experience covering pitchers – news perspective only, so take it for what it’s worth – you do see this from time to time after a guy comes back from Tommy John surgery. The good news is that pitchers have gotten over it before without issue. The bad news is that it can take a long time to clear up. Hence: season over.
The good news here, if you want to see it that way, is that at least this medical investigation actually found something clear this time. What it will mean for the pitcher Darvish is going forward is unknown – he’s 32 and will now have multiple long-term arm issues and lots and lots of innings in his past – but it explains his pain, is not all that uncommon in situations like this, and has been treated successfully before.
How to be more proactive to prevent arm issues next year? Well, someone’s going to make some big bucks if they can help Darvish in 2019 and beyond. He’s set to be with the Cubs for five more years.
With an offseason to rest up and prepare for next year, maybe all will be well next year. But who knows. The Cubs will have a lot of question marks in the rotation going into next season if they choose to stand pat (which they may very well do, given how many guys they have under control).
You wonder a bit if the timing of the Darvish news gave the Cubs a little extra push to acquire Daniel Murphy. No, he doesn’t pitch, but you might need to add every bit you can now that you know you won’t have a high-end starter coming back.
Meanwhile, I tend to doubt the Cubs will add a starting pitcher at this point – that’s what Cole Hamels was – but you can’t rule anything out with this front office.