It's official: Cubs sign Yu Darvish
Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA Today Sports

It's official: Cubs sign Yu Darvish

by -

MESA – The Chicago Cubs and right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish have agreed to terms on a six-year contract through the 2023 season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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 righthander finished third in 2012 American League Rookie of the Year voting, was runner-up for the 2013 A.L. Cy Young Award and has three top-10 finishes for most strikeouts in the A.L., 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 ER/832.1 IP) 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 ER/1,268.1 IP) 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 ER/2,100.2 IP) 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 ER/191.1 IP) in 29 starts, earning A.L. 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 ER/209.2 IP) 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 ER/100.1 IP) 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 ER/186.2 IP) 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.

Comment on this story
Post your comments!