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The Daily Darvish: Wish Yu were here

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The Cubs’ first pitcher and catcher workout is in 15 days.

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Photo illustration: Mike Bojanowski

No, Yu Darvish has not signed with the Cubs. Yet.

I just thought you might like to see how he’d look in a Cubs uniform. Who knows? Two weeks from now, he might be wearing one as the Cubs begin camp in Mesa.

Here’s a summary of what we learned Monday:

Here’s the L.A. article referred to in that tweet. Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times wrote, in response to a reader question:

My understanding is that Yu Darvish has made clear he would like to return to the Dodgers, and part of the delay in his free agency is related to waiting to see if the team can move some of the money. The Dodgers have explored scenarios for moving useful but (theoretically) extraneous assets such as Yasmani Grandal, Logan Forsythe and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Given the fact that those players are still Dodgers and Darvish is still a free agent, you can guess how the market has reacted to this gambit by the front office.

Obviously, the biggest contract the Dodgers could offload would be the one that’s going to pay Matt Kemp $21.75 million this year. While much of that contract is going to be paid by the Braves and Padres, the luxury tax hit is going to be taken by the Dodgers, to the extent that they’d need to move him before they could sign Darvish. This is because the Dodgers have gone on record as saying they want to stay under the luxury tax limit for 2018. They’d have to likely eat almost all of the rest of the deal to trade him, because no one else is going to take that contract. Kemp might just wind up released before Opening Day.

In another mailbag article, T.R. Sullivan of mlb.com writes of Darvish:

It seems obvious -- reading all the signs -- that Darvish wants to return to the Rangers. The problem is the Rangers keep saying that it is “unlikely” that they’ll be active at the top of the free-agent pitching market. Certainly the term “unlikely” leaves wiggle room, and the tedious dance continues with Rangers fans left tantalized by the wait.

Despite all other factors being tossed about, Darvish could be the one keeping the free-agent market from moving. He is the top starting pitcher on the market, and those guys usually sign in November. If Darvish were to sign, it could break the inertia. But he may be waiting to see if the Rangers blink first.

I’m not sure what “signs” he’s been reading, but many observers think that the Cubs are the “front-runner” for Darvish, whatever that means in this bizarre baseball winter.

It very well might be true that the market’s being held up until Darvish signs.

Can you take one more mailbag? Here’s one from Twins reporter Rhett Bollinger:

The Twins remain in on Darvish, and he’s their top priority, but they also have planned for fallback options in case he signs elsewhere. It’s more about years than dollars for the Twins, as they’re reluctant to go past four or five years for any free agent. They’ve been linked to other top starters such as Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn, although I’ve been told their interest in Cobb has been a bit overstated.

They could also look to add depth to the back end of their rotation instead, as they have interest in former Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman, who is coming off a shoulder injury. Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey also didn’t rule out a reunion with free agent Jaime Garcia, who was with the Twins for a few days before he was traded to the Yankees in July. So there are plenty of options out there, and it seems those dominos will fall once Darvish signs.

Looking at that quote is a reminder of just how many free-agent starting pitchers are still out there, unsigned, not knowing where they should report in mid-February.

We’ve never had an offseason quite like this one. And I hope we never do again.

And to wrap this edition of the Daily Darvish, the song from the headline: