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There’s a Yu Darvish to the Padres trade rumor out there

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Like most of these, it probably doesn’t mean anything.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

We are in the doldrums of a slow baseball offseason, though it got a bit busier Sunday evening when the Rays reportedly traded Blake Snell to the Padres for four prospects.

The Cubs have made only small moves, and it doesn’t seem likely any big trades or signings are going to happen for the North Siders before the 2021 season begins — whenever that happens.

That’s why this Yu Darvish trade rumor, noted by Kevin Acee in the San Diego Union-Tribune, needs at least a bit of an eyebrow raise.

It’s not even the main focus of Acee’s article, which is headlined “Padres reportedly lose out on Japanese starter Kohei Arihara.” (In fact, that’s confirmed now; Arihara signed with the Rangers.)

Here is the entirety of Acee’s note about Darvish:

They have been in contact with the Cubs regarding starting pitcher Yu Darvish, who was runner-up in National League Cy Young voting this year. However, signals from team sources have been mixed on how far along those talks are.

It’s not clear which team — Cubs or Padres — are the “sources” noted in the article, though since Acee is a Padres beat writer, that likely comes from San Diego.

There was no mention of what might be sent to the Cubs in return for Darvish, how much of his contract might be picked up by San Diego — nothing.

My feeling? This is simply due diligence on the part of the Padres, who might be in position to be a strong contender in the NL West in 2021. Adding a pitcher like Darvish could put them in a good place to compete with the Dodgers, though now that they’ve added Snell, their desire and/or need for Darvish might have lessened.

Meanwhile, the Cubs seem to be in a place where they’re going to try to squeeze one more contending season out of the current core before they re-tool (or “tank,” perhaps) after 2021. The NL Central is shaping up to be a fairly weak division. The Pirates, after trading Josh Bell, are continuing in “What the heck are they doing?” mode and could easily be a 100-loss team. The Reds have lost some key parts to free agency and at one time this offseason were rumored to have put Sonny Gray on the market. The Brewers and Cardinals don’t appear to be making any major moves.

Darvish appears to like Chicago and his 2020 season was spectacularly good, with a second-place Cy Young Award finish. He had a full no-trade clause through 2020 and told management he wouldn’t waive it. Now that’s transitioned to a list of 12 teams he can block deals to.

Darvish had a similar no-trade clause in his Texas Rangers deal. Here are the teams he could have blocked a deal to in 2017:

He was, of course, eventually traded to the Dodgers — and note that the Cubs were on his list back then. So whether this list is similar to his current 12-team list: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I see I’m approaching 500 words on something I think is a big pile of nothing. Sure, dealing Darvish now might save the Cubs some money — but at that point they’re probably tanking, and I see no indications that’s happening.

My feeling: Darvish will be a Cub in 2021.

Poll

Should the Cubs trade Yu Darvish?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Yes, regardless of the return
    (23 votes)
  • 63%
    Maybe, depending on the return
    (282 votes)
  • 30%
    No — keep him and try to contend in 2021
    (137 votes)
  • 0%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (0 votes)
442 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will the Cubs trade Yu Darvish before the 2021 season begins?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Yes
    (104 votes)
  • 65%
    No
    (201 votes)
305 votes total Vote Now