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The Cubs are reportedly meeting with Yu Darvish

The plot thickens.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

There have been several published reports connecting the Cubs and Yu Darvish. I wrote about them Friday and again Sunday.

Now, there is at least one indication that the Cubs are serious about pursuing the former Dodgers and Rangers righthander:

I don’t think Theo & Jed would make a trip like this if they weren’t serious about signing Darvish, and I’ll take this one at face value as Bruce Levine has been fairly reliable about reporting things like this.

The market for free-agent starting pitchers has moved... very... slowly so far this winter. Here we are one week from Christmas, and the only deal for any free-agent starter longer than two years is the one the Cubs signed with Tyler Chatwood last week.

We’ve been through all the numbers on Darvish before; at this point the only one that counts is the dollar value of the contract. With the Cubs estimated to have about $27 million worth of room to sign more players before they hit the 2018 luxury tax, paying Darvish (for example) $20 million AAV on a new contract wouldn’t leave them much room to sign any relief help. Perhaps Darvish will sign a deal for less than that, but I doubt it.

Yu Darvish would be a fine addition to the Cubs’ rotation, no question about it. Adding him to Chatwood, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Kyle Hendricks would give the Cubs probably the best rotation in the N.L. Central, and one of the best in the National League.

The only question, then, is: At what cost?

As always, we await further developments.