The Chicago Cubs are looking to make some serious changes to their roster for the 2021 season, and there’s at least one big name player who could be on the move, as the team is reportedly “deep in talks” to send pitcher Yu Darvish to the San Diego Padres.
Multiple news outlets and reporters, including Dennis Lin, Sahadev Sharma and Pat Mooney of The Athletic, and Bruce Levine of 670 the Score, have reported that the Padres are still in hot pursuit of the National League Cy Young Award runner-up, even after acquiring Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend.
The Padres have been reportedly kicking the tires on Darvish throughout the offseason, and while many observers assumed that the pursuit would be called off after acquiring Snell, the Padres are still pushing to bring Darvish into the fold as they look to make a championship run in 2021.
Darvish inked a six-year contract with the Cubs prior to the 2018 season, and after a slow start with the team he has re-established himself as a potential top-of-the-rotation starter. In 12 starts this season Darvish posted an 8-3 record with a 2.01 ERA, striking out 93 batters and walking just 14 for the Cubs.
For those efforts, he was rewarded with a second place finish in the NL Cy Young race, finishing behind Cincinnati’s Trevor Bauer. He also finished in 14th place in National League MVP voting.
While it’s unclear what kind of return the Cubs could get for Darvish, the move would undoubtedly be used to give the team some payroll flexibility as they evaluate whether to offer contract extensions to players like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, both of whom are slated to become unrestricted free agents after the 2021 season.
Javier Baez and Willson Contreras could also be potential candidates for extensions, but it’s unclear whether the Cubs plan to offer up future monies as they evaluate their roster and farm system under new President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer.