Clayton Kershaw Was Not Impressed By the Cubs' Decision to Trade Yu Darvish for Young Prospects

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Clayton Kershaw Was Not Impressed By the Cubs’ Decision to Trade Yu Darvish for Young Prospects

Chicago Cubs

Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher of his generation and one of the best pitchers of all-time, has been the beneficiary of spending most of his career in an organization with almost limitless funds. To the Los Angeles Dodgers’ credit, they have frequently spent far more on payroll and baseball operations than any other organization outside of New York. But it probably bears mentioning somewhere near the top of this post that their TV deal, signed at the absolute height of sports broadcasting rights, pays them multiples upon multiples of dollars more than most other organizations, and is locked in for nearly another two decades.

None of that is to say Kershaw is wrong about the state of baseball operations around the league. To the contrary, he largely nails the bigger picture, where tanking has become a serious problem for the sport. But, you know, the Dodgers’ unique financial situation just felt like fair context to provide before sharing his comments to the L.A. Times, which included pointed criticism about the Chicago Cubs’ big trade this offseason.

After noting that some of the teams he sees spending this offseason are not necessarily teams that should have more money than the big market clubs, Kershaw took issue with the approach of teams trying to tank and rebuild: “You’ve got to spend money to win. And then I don’t think this rebuilding approach, losing 100 games for a few years and then turning it around [works]. There’s only going to be one team that does that a year, potentially. So, yeah, for every Astros or Cubs story, there’s going to be 10 other teams that don’t win and they’re just going to have to do it all over again. And how, as a fanbase, can you accept that?”

Kershaw went on from there to specify that the Cubs’ trade of Yu Darvish was not working for him.

“There’s a lot of smart guys in front offices. Figure something out that’s easier to do than trading away a [star]. Just, for example, a potential Cy Young [Award winner] in [Yu] Darvish, who has been one of the top five pitchers in baseball for a year and a half, for prospects that could potentially be good but they’re 17, 18 years old. And [Zach] Davies is a great pitcher, but to me, that’s just not … for the Chicago Cubs to do that, it’s not good. It’s just not good.”

He probably just didn’t want a division rival getting Darvish on a steal of a deal, amirite?

As we discussed at the time, there were justifiable reasons for the Cubs to explore a trade of a 34-year-old Yu Darvish while he had so much value, and as they looked ahead toward trying to transition over the next couple years. But the Cubs had him under contract for three more seasons, and the return – as Kershaw rightly notes – was so high-risk and so long-term that it never felt like the kind of return the Cubs should have been targeting. We dig the prospects the Cubs got back – and, indeed, Davies might be quite good in his final year of team control – but I can’t say Kershaw is wholly without a point.

That said, there is the additional unique context here of the pandemic and the launch of Marquee. So who knows if time will bear out that the Cubs really were just dealing with a flukey confluence of financial circumstances, and actually will operate like a legit big market club in the years ahead by, as Kershaw said, spending some money to win. We all certainly hope so.


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.