Yu Darvish said at the conclusion of the regular season that he hadn’t made a firm decision on his opt-out, but that the Cubs were perfect for him and that he planned to stay in Chicago. While once a given that he’d stick around for $81 million over four years, a second-half surge raised Darvish’s value and had some thinking that he might try to capitalize in a market not replete with front-line starters.
Despite the outside shot at landing a bigger deal, Jon Heyman is reporting that Darvish does indeed plan to remain with the Cubs. While they were certainly expecting that already, the decision helps to solidify the front office’s plans for this winter.
Yu Darvish had a big 2nd half (0.81 WHIP, 2.76 ERA, .199 BAA) and 229 Ks fir year, but he will not opt out of his deal. Has $81M, 4 years to go. He likes Chicago and had previously suggested his plans to stay.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 31, 2019
Had Darvish chosen to void the remainder of the deal, the Cubs would almost certainly have been in the market for an ace-level starter. Armed with $21 million AAV and facing a glaring hole in the rotation, such a departure might have been enough to spur the Cubs to pursue Gerrit Cole. Hell, they could still do that if they really wanted to, though it’s doubtful Cole’s monster contract will fit into the budget.
With Darvish back in the fold, it’s more likely the Cubs will look to bolster their pitching depth, choosing to rely on some combination of Tyler Chatwood, Alec Mills, and Adbert Alzolay to fill out the starting five. Unless, of course, they can find another mid-30’s lefty out there somewhere.