MLB Trade Rumors: Yu Darvish is heading to the San Diego Padres from the Chicago Cubs in a seven player deal, per multiple reports. The former Ranger ace is being sent, along with Victor Caratini, his personal catcher, to the Padres in exchange for starting pitcher Zach Davies and four minor leaguers, three of whom have never appeared in a professional game, while the fourth hasn’t appeared above complex league.
We have talked about Darvish before — he was terrific in Texas, then had Tommy John surgery, wasn’t quite as good after he returned, was traded to the Dodgers at the 2017 trade deadline, pitched well for them then got rocked twice by the Houston Astros in the World Series. The Cubs signed him to a six year deal, Yu wasn’t good in 2018, started out not good in 2019, had a strong second half, and then was great in 2020.
A.J. Preller was in Texas and actively involved in the Rangers landing Yu way back when. Darvish is owed $59 million over the next three years, which is reasonable money for a top of the rotation starter, but he’s also 34 with a lot of mileage. As with Blake Snell, who the Padres also acquired today, he offers a lot of upside, but also quite a bit of risk.
The return for the Cubs is curious. They get Zach Davies, a righthanded starter who turns 28 in February, has generally been a 2-3 win per season guy, and who hits the free agent market after 2021. He fills Yu’s place in the rotation for a year.
They also get minor leaguers Owen Caissie, Reggie Preciado, Ismael Mena and Yeison Santana. Caissie is an outfielder who was the Padres second round pick in 2020 out of Burlington, Ontario. He doesn’t turn 19 until July, so he’s young even for a high school draftee. Preciado is a shortstop who signed for $1.2M in the 2019-20 J-2 class, while Mena is a center fielder who got a $2.2M bonus in that same class. Santana is an infielder who lit who the AZL as a 19 year old in 2019.
While the initial reaction is that the return is light, the Cubs got two of the Padres’ top signees from the last J-2 class, as well as their 2020 second rounder — the equivalent of the Rangers parting with Bayron Lora, Maximo Acosta and Evan Carter, before getting into the other two pieces.