Chicago Cubs MLB San Diego Padres

Padres Bring Darvish Back Out West

Written by Jameus Mooney

Earlier this year the San Diego Padres made the postseason for the first time since 2006, for comparison it was before Jake Peavy won his NL Triple Crown. Loaded with one of the league’s premiere offenses with Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Jake Cronenworth, Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer at the forefront, they look to solidify their rotation following the loss of Mike Clevinger to Tommy John Surgery.

In such response, they acquired 2018 AL Cy Young award winner Blake Snell last night. He will join Chris Paddack and Dinelson Lamet at the helm of a young rotation, but it also now has its veteran. Yu Darvish, who finished second in 2020 NL Cy Young voting, will now go to the Friars. It is the first time in MLB history a team has acquired two pitchers who had a top two Cy Young finish in the previous three seasons in the same offseason.

Darvish, who will be 34 on Opening Day, posted a 2.01 ERA in 76 innings of work. He is familiar on the West Coast, pitching for the Rangers and Dodgers from 2012-2017. He inked a six year, $126M commitment with the Northsiders prior to the 2018 season. It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, as his 2018 saw him post a 4.95 ERA in only 40 innings but Darvish’s stock has never been higher after his 2020. His 11.1 strikeouts-per-nine innings is the highest in MLB history, while also averaging 211 innings per year over his career. The four-time All-Star isn’t the only one going to the Padres in this blockbuster, however, as batterymate Victor Caratini joins him. Caratini has hit to a .700 OPS as the Cubs backup backstop since 2017.

In a somewhat surprising twist, the Cubs didn’t get a single top five prospect from the Padres. It is worth noting that they need to both replenish the farm and shed salary after the departure of Theo Epstein and this is Jed Hoyer’s best opportunity to shed payroll as it’s the Cubs largest contract. It’s all speculative though, because financial details regarding the trade have not been confirmed. Zach Davies could be a solid pickup for the Cubs as he takes Darvish’s vacant rotation spot. Davies posted a 2.73 ERA across a nice 69 innings of work in 2020. He has a 3.79 ERA across 683.2 IP in the Majors, all but one season of which coming with the Brewers in the NL Central.

Owen Caissie seems to be the big piece, as San Diego’s second round pick in 2020. It’s fascinating that the Cubs didn’t get any high-prospect arms back, though. Regarding unforeseen last minute cash considerations, it seems as though the Padres are eating all of the remaining $59M on Darvish’ deal, an absolute win for the Cubs.

PSE will keep you updated as more details on the trade become available.

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About the author

Jameus Mooney