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If the Cubs do sign Yu Darvish, what’s their next biggest need?

Who would you go after, after Darvish?

Here’s Yu Darvish in a Rangers uniform because I’m tired of looking at all the photos of him in a Dodgers uniform
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a slow news week.

A very slow news week:

(Mike Olt signed with the Red Sox, in case you were wondering.)

Anyway, with little going on, let’s talk about Yu Darvish again. Personally, I’d like to see the Cubs sign Darvish; you might disagree, but let’s assume for the sake of argument that they have in fact signed him.

Based on this analysis I did a couple of weeks ago on the estimated Cubs payroll for 2018, I don’t think they would then have enough payroll room to re-sign Wade Davis, presuming that they want to stay under the luxury tax figure for 2018.

Given that, I think the Cubs would have to go with the bullpen setup the way it is at this moment, with Brandon Morrow the likely closer, with Steve Cishek backing him up.

To me, the next biggest need is a veteran backup catcher. Yes, Victor Caratini has talent. I’m not sure I’d want him as the only option if Willson Contreras went down with an injury, the way he did last year.

Thus I’d turn my attention to Alex Avila, who went on record last month as saying he’d be perfectly happy being a backup for a playoff contender. Avila did a very good job backing up Contreras after he was acquired from the Tigers in July, and filled in ably while Willson was out with a hamstring injury.

Avila turns 31 in January. I’d be perfectly willing to give him a two-year deal, perhaps for $8 million total.

Yes, that would wind up blocking Caratini for the next two seasons. In that case Caratini becomes one of the Cubs’ best trade chips in a depleted farm system.

I’ll repeat what I said at the top of this post. it’s a very slow news week. Just thought I’d throw all this out there for discussion.