Cubs announced the six-year contract with Yu Darvish … Introduced the right-handed pitcher as the newest member of Joe Maddon’s starting rotation
On the day pitchers and catchers were set to report to the team’s facility in Mesa prior to the start of Spring Training, the Cubs made the signing of RHP Yu Darvish official in a release and press conference.
The Cubs signed Yu Darvish to a six-year, $126 million contract that includes an incentives package that could max out the deal at $150 million. The Cubs did not release the terms of the contract but according to multiple reports, Darvish will be paid $25 million this season and $20 million in 2019. Darvish can opt out of his deal following the 2019 season. If he stays with the Cubs for the entire contract, Darvish will be paid base salaries of $22 million (2020), $22 million (2021), $19 million (2022) and $18 million (2023).
Darvish has a full no-trade clause over the first four years of the contract and can reject a trade to 12 teams over the last two years (2022, 2023) of the deal.
Yu Darvish, 31, is a four-time All-Star during his five Major League seasons with the Texas Rangers (2012-14, 2016-17) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2017). Prior to joining the Rangers, Darvish enjoyed a seven-year stint with the Nippon-Ham Fighters (2005-11), where he was a two-time Pacific League Most Valuable Player (2007, 2009). He also led his club to the 2006 Pacific League title and helped Team Japan to the Gold Medal in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
The right-hander finished third in 2012 American League Rookie of the Year voting, was runner-up for the 2013 AL Cy Young Award and has three top-10 finishes for most strikeouts in the AL, including a league-leading 277 punchouts in 2013. Darvish’s average of 11.04 strikeouts per nine innings not only leads all major leaguers since he made his debut in 2012, but is also the highest average in Major League history among pitchers that have made at least 100 career starts, well ahead of Randy Johnson and his next-closest career mark of 10.61 strikeouts per nine innings.
Darvish has reached at least 29 starts in three of his five seasons, including 31 starts with the Rangers and Dodgers last year, one shy of his career-high 32 starts with the Rangers in 2013. Darvish missed all of the 2015 season and the start of 2016 due to Tommy John ligament replacement surgery performed on March 17, 2015 by Dr. James Andrews.
Overall, Darvish is 56-42 with a 3.42 ERA (316 earned runs in 832 1/3 innings) in 131 Major League starts since joining the Rangers for the 2012 campaign. With the Nippon-Ham Fighters, Darvish went 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA (281 earned runs in 1,268 1/3 innings) in 167 appearances, all but three as a starter, with 55 complete games and 18 shutouts. Combined between his time in Japan and the United States, Darvish has gone 149-80 with a 2.56 ERA (597 earned runs in 2,100 2/3 innings) in 298 outings (295 starts).
Darvish transitioned his career to the United States after he was posted by the Nippon-Ham Fighters following the 2011 campaign and the Texas Rangers submitted the highest bid, later agreeing to terms with Darvish on a six-year contract on January 18, 2012. Darvish that year went 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA (83 earned runs in 191 1/3 innings) in 29 starts, earning AL All-Star honors while finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting and ninth in Cy Young Award voting.
In 2013, Darvish began his campaign by retiring his first 26 batters faced on April 2 against the Houston Astros only to see his perfect game broken up with a two-out single in the ninth inning. That 7-0 victory, which included 14 strikeouts and no walks, jumpstarted his finest Major League season to date during which he went 13-9 with a 2.83 ERA (66 earned runs in 209 2/3 innings) in 32 starts, earning All-Star honors and finishing runner-up in American League Cy Young voting while leading the league with 277 strikeouts.
Darvish was limited to 22 starts in 2014 yet still made his third-straight All-Star team to start his Major League career. He developed right triceps soreness during Spring Training the following season, leading to Tommy John surgery, and returned to the mound on May 28, 2016, going 7-5 with a 3.41 ERA (38 earned runs in 100 1/3 innings) in 17 starts in 2016. Darvish earned All-Star honors with the Rangers last year before being acquired by the Dodgers on July 31, 2017 as the headliner of a four-player trade. Between the two stops, he went 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA (80 earned runs in 186 2/3 innings) in 31 starts last season.
A native of Habakino, Osaka, Japan, Darvish was born to an Iranian father and a Japanese mother. He was originally selected by the Nippon-Ham Fighters in the first round of the 2004 Draft at the age of 18.
Yu Darvish will wear No. 11 with the Cubs.