"The Cubs really stood out, and everyone was honest at the meeting", Darvish said Tuesday through a translator after finalizing a $126 million, six-year contract. It was another reminder, in an offseason full of them, of management's failure, more than six years into its tenure, to successfully draft and develop pitchers of any note.
On a roster of every day players that are almost all still relatively young, there are no less than seven former first-round draft picks. According to Cubs' media relations, 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.
And finally, someone jolts a little life into the free-agent market.
This year, Maddon wants the Cubs fresh from the start. He did fashion a 42-15 pitching record with a 2.69 ERA.
The Mets say they were sold on Callaway as a first-time manager largely by his high-energy personality and leadership qualities, but let's be real: they took a gamble that the Indians' former pitching coach can be a horse whisperer of sorts to their once-ballyhooed starting rotation.
It's been a mostly boring offseason, but all eyes will be on the Cubs' camp this spring. With all due respect to Mike Montgomery, previously projected to be in the rotation before the Darvish acquisition, that seems to be a fair number. Eddie Butler, who appeared in 13 games for the Cubs previous year, will get another chance this spring, and the Cubs would love for a homegrown pitcher to step up at last. In doing so, the Cubs are climbing away from the no-man's-land between the top contenders and the tankers, ensuring that Kris Bryant and Co.'s most cost-effective seasons are spent pursuing another championship. "We think this is going to be a tremendous fit".
This time a year ago, there were really only two guarantees in the Cubs rotation to return for the 2018 season. It may turn out to be that the leadoff spot is a shared arrangement that involves Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr. and Ben Zobrist, depending on the matchups. Both shut the Cubs down in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) last season.
And so our Cubbies did what our Cubbies did best - they went above and beyond.
His most recent few seasons have had their challenges. The Twins were pretty quickly taken off the list, but it was rumored that the remaining three teams besides the Cubs, were in it until the end.
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