In addition to what has already been an off-season of turnover and change, the Cubs trade bait Yu Darvish and catcher Victor Caratini to the Padres for right-hander Zach Davies and four prospects, according to several reports.
Darvish (34), the runner-up of the National League Cy Young, after being 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA in 2020, attracted significant trade interest and was the Cubs’ most valuable asset based on his ability and relatively reasonable contract.
When Jed Hoyer took over as team president in November, he did not hide from the fact that difficult decisions would come. But few would have predicted that these decisions would include not only positional players approaching free agencies, but also the Cubs’ best starting lineup.
“In this job, you always have one eye on the present and one eye on the future,” Hoyer said last month. ‘And the truth is that, given the real-time realities. . . I think the eye may be a little more focused on the future than usual. ‘
The Padres insisted hard on a catcher in the deal and got their man in Caratini, who in 2019 became Darvish’s personal catcher. Darvish has a career-high 2.80 ERA in 31 games with Caratini.
According to reports, the four prospects are Cubs short-term Reginald Preciado and Yeison Santana and outfielders Owen Caissie and Ismael Mena.
Trading with Darvish is the first big step among the Cubs under Hoyer after beating foreigners Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. earlier this season did not offer. The trade will fetch a significant amount of salary from the Cubs’ books – a necessity for that. Darvish is owed $ 62 million over the next three seasons as part of the $ 126 million six-year deal he signed with the Cubs before the 2018 season.
Since Memorial Day 2019, Darvish has put together an ERA of 2.84 starting more than 32 (199 innings), averaging 11.5 strokes and 2.4 runs per nine overs.
The Cubs have already become concerned about their starting depth, and the handling of their ashes contributes to that. Davies joins Kyle Hendricks, Alec Mills and Adbert Alzolay in the projected rotation. Mills and Alzolay have limited experience despite the increased roles in 2020, and they only combined 152 ⅔ innings.
‘We understand this when we plan for 162 [games] as it is now, we will have to have some depth, ‘said Cubs manager David Ross.
While Darvish is now being traded, attention is being drawn to inlanders Kris Bryant and Javy Baez, who are both entering their final contract year before becoming free agents next winter. The NL Central is at stake, but if the Cubs decide to go in the direction of shedding top players and salaries, a division title could be more difficult than last year.
“I think there are always challenges to trying to do both, so you have to pay attention to both,” Hoyer said. ‘You have to be opportunistic when it comes to making decisions that allow you to do both.
‘I think at some point you need to look at the bigger picture. We did win the division this year. We are really talented. And so I think we can do both. But that probably means you’re a little opportunistic at times. ‘