(670 The Score) The Padres are seriously pursuing Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish on the trade market, with the teams deep in discussions Monday, sources confirmed.
The deal could be expanded to include Cubs catcher Victor Caratini as well, one source said. The Cubs are looking to get two MLB players and two prospects back in the trade, sources said. The Padres have the second-ranked farm system in baseball, per MLB.com.
Darvish, 34, proved in 2020 that he’s still one of the best pitchers in baseball. He was the National League Cy Young runner-up after going 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA and 0.96 WHIP while striking out 93 batters in 76 innings.
News of the Padres and Cubs progressing deep on the Darvish discussions came a day after San Diego agreed to acquire ace left-hander Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday night. Darvish has a personal friendship with Padres general manager A.J. Preller, who was previously the Rangers’ director of international scouting and assistant general manager. With Preller helping recruit him, Texas signed Darvish out of Japan ahead of the 2012 season.
Darvish has three years and $59 million left on a six-year, $126-million deal that he signed with the Cubs prior to the 2018 season. If the Cubs were to trade Darvish, it would mark a shift from prioritizing winning now to focusing more on the health of their long-term future while still trying to remain competitive in 2021.
The Cubs have been seeking an infusion of younger, contract-controllable pitching after largely failing to produce homegrown pitching for the past decade.
Darvish may not be the only high-profile Cubs player to leave town before the 2021 season starts. Third baseman Kris Bryant has one season left on his contract, and the Cubs have had trade discussions about him too. If they’re offered a strong package for Bryant, the Cubs may move him. In past trade discussions, opposing teams have asked the Cubs about the possibility of paying around half of Bryant’s projected $19-million salary for 2021. That has been a non-starter for the Cubs, sources said.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.