Time, relentlessly, marches on. Cubs pitchers and catchers will have their first workout three weeks from today (February 14). They will play their first spring-training game nine days after that.
Perhaps one of those pitchers working out will be Yu Darvish.
Here’s some of the latest information about Darvish, which admittedly has not advanced this story much from yesterday.
The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney writes that there’s “a sense” that Darvish’s talks with interested parties have gained momentum recently. Moreover, Mooney writes that Darvish’s options are “not limited to the teams identified publicly” — meaning the Cubs, Twins, Rangers, Brewers, Dodgers and Yankees. Darvish remains a focus for the Cubs, according to Mooney, who adds that a reunion with Arrieta “appears to be a long shot.”
Meanwhile, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that a rival exec who has recently been in contact with the Twins expressed some doubt about Minnesota’s willingness to sign Darvish if it means pushing into the $150MM territory.
There are a couple of useful notes there beyond the “sense.” First, Mooney writes that Jake Arrieta’s return to the Cubs is a “longshot.” This implies to me that the Cubs are singularly focused on Darvish.
Second, the MLBTR article notes that the Twins might have a financial limit on what they are willing to spend. Depending on what Darvish is holding out for, that might eliminate them.
Mooney’s article is behind The Athletic’s paywall, but here’s part of it:
Even factoring in benefits, roster turnover and savings for the trade deadline, insiders project the Cubs can spend in the range of $30 or $35 million more this offseason and still stay underneath the $197 million luxury-tax threshold.
This is in line with what I’ve suggested in previous articles on this topic. It appears the Cubs can afford Darvish.
In the Tribune, Paul Sullivan addresses the Chris Gimenez connection to Darvish:
Chris Gimenez, a backup catcher for the Twins who signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune he had joked with Darvish recently about being a “package deal” on the free agent market. Gimenez previously caught Darvish in 2014 with the Rangers.
“He laughed,” Gimenez said. “He said, ‘Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.’ ”
But Gimenez admitted he hadn’t spoken with Darvish in a while.
So, obviously too much was made of that connection. At least the two of them had some fun with it.
Three weeks from today. Still time to get things done. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting bored with the lack of activity this offseason.
Lastly, since I posted a photo of Darvish with a bat, here he is hitting his only big-league home run August 24, 2016. (In Cincinnati. Where else?)