The San Diego Padres have made yet another big move. They have acquired pitcher Yu Darvish in a trade with the Chicago Cubs. This comes on the heels of another huge transaction that sent four good prospects to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Blake Snell. The announcement came at around 7 pm Pacific Time, although neither team has confirmed the deal as of press time.
Cubs-Padres deal will be Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini to SD for Zach Davies, SS Reginald Preciado, OF Owen Caissie, OF Ismael Mena and SS Yeison Santana, per source.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 29, 2020
Padres Acquire Yu Darvish
Darvish had an outstanding year for the Cubs in 2020. The 34-year-old finished second in Cy Young voting after posting a 2.01 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 76 innings. There were some concerns that the veteran was declining after a rough start to the 2019 season, but his fastball velocity jumped from 94.2 MPH to 95.5. That plus a legendary plethora of secondary offerings and avoiding the home run ball ultimately resulted in a fantastic campaign.
The Texas Rangers originally purchased Darvish from the Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball organization. He threw over 700 innings with the Rangers before heading to the Los Angeles Dodgers via trade in exchange for multiple players including Willie Calhoun. He signed with the Cubs after the 2017 season when his contract with the Dodgers ended. Darvish has thrown 1127 innings over 182 starts with a 3.47 ERA and 1392 strikeouts. He also has four All-Star appearances, three years with Cy Young votes, a top-three finish in Rookie of the Year voting, and down-ballot MVP consideration.
What This Trade Means
The Padres just keep loading up for a World Series run. They did have to give up good prospects again, but Darvish looks like a tremendous addition next to Snell at the top of the team’s rotation. That could be the best 1-2 punch in the entire National League, if not all of baseball.
The trade also indicates that the Cubs are looking for a quick reset. Such a strategy could proceed similarly to what the Arizona Diamondbacks have attempted in recent years. Losing Darvish hurts, but the Cubs still have a good core of hitters. The prospects they recouped in exchange for Darvish should be huge pieces in their next window of contention.
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Doug Winkey is 30-years-old and serves as a staff writer for both Last Word on Hockey and Last Word on Baseball. In addition to being a huge Avalanche and Rockies fan, he covers news across the NHL. His other sporting interest include the NFL's Minnesota Vikings and Iowa State University in the NCAA