Cubs sign pitcher Yu Darvish to six-year, $126 million deal

Yu Darvish was the top pitcher on the free-agent market. More

Yu Darvish was the top pitcher on the free-agent market. More

The winter-long dance is over. This time it is Yu Darvish.

Chicago has agreed to a six-year deal with right-hander Yu Darvish, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday afternoon. Like a slew of other teams, the Cubs didn't meet with Darvish until after they realized his initial price tag wasn't going to be met as the free agent market sputtered. This is likely a correctable issue moving forward and the Cubs probably agree given they handed Darvish this deal. Last October, Darvish beat the Cubs in the National League Championship Series.

Although the total guaranteed money in Darvish's deal could be less than what he might have made several years ago - before teams began reaching the conclusion that lengthy, expensive deals for free agents on the wrong side of 30 were a bad bet - it still represents the longest and biggest deal signed by any player this winter, topping the one for five years and $80 million the Brewers gave outfielder Lorenzo Cain.

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Aside from the Yankees trading for Giancarlo Stanton, the Cubs are the clear victor of a slow offseason, signing two starting pitchers, a closer in Brandon Morrow and relief help in Steve Cishek and Brian Duensing.

With Darvish off the board, the top remaining unsigned pitchers include Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb.

Darvish: 56-42, 3.42 ERA, 832 1/3 innings pitched.

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Some concern surfaced across baseball regarding Darvish's performance at the end of the season, as the Astros crushed him twice in the World Series, but most believed that was because he was tipping his pitches and not anything physical in nature. What may be a concern, however, is the fact that Darvish has thrown 2,127 2/3 innings in his professional career, has a Tommy John surgery on his resume and will be with the Cubs in his age 31-36 seasons.

Darvish, 31, is a four-time all-star who split last season between the Texas Rangers and Dodgers, famously imploding for the latter in a pair of ugly, brief starts during the World Series. Darvish's primary gains by landing with the Cubs is premium run support and a boost in terms of strikeouts, considering he spent much of his US career pitching at Texas' Globe Life Park, which severely deflates them.

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