11 February, 2018
Darvish's contract is guaranteed to pay him at least $126 million, but it can rise another $24 million if he achieves certain incentives.
Darvish posted a 3.86 ERA in 31 starts with the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers last season. Considering that they've sold $168 million in World Series Championship sweatshirts just to guys named Keith over the last two years, there's probably a little more payroll flexibility to work with.
The move, first reported by The Athletic (and pending a physical exam), immediately solved the Cubs' biggest need - front-line starting pitching - and gave them an identifiable, reasonable pathway to a third straight National League Central title, assuming they can hold off resurgent rivals Milwaukee and St. Louis.More news: Lessons from the Nassar case
He was a free agent, bound to no team, and of all the teams, he chose that one. Darvish started 164 games, was 93-38, had an ERA of 1.99, threw 55 complete games (18 shutouts), pitched 1268.1 innings, and had 1,250 strikeouts. Fangraphs Steamer Projections have Darvish posting 3.6 WAR and a 3.82 ERA in 179 innings this season. The Dodgers are among the large-market teams endeavoring to keep their payrolls under the luxury-tax threshold. With Darvish off the board and setting the market price for starting pitchers, it could help wake up the rest of the free agent market with spring training right around the corner.
Darvish finished last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, helping them knock out the defending champion Cubs in the playoffs to reach the World Series.
Darvish signed with Texas before the 2012 season and missed all of 2015 after elbow surgery. The following season, he got his second All-Star Game nod and was second in voting for Cy Young behind Max Scherzer. Montgomery will likely also be utilized as a spot starter throughout the season, as he was previous year when he made 14 starts for the Cubs. Some believe that Darvish signing will free up the logjam of other free agents - but that's no certainty, since there really are only a handful of free agents that approach his value.