CHICAGO – Just as he was beginning to come into his own as a member of the Cubs, the Yu Darvish era is about to come to an end.
Per multiple reports, including Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, the Cubs are close to sending Darvish along with catcher Victor Caratini to the Padres in exchange for pitcher Zach Davies and four prospects in the Padres organization.
They reportedly are outfielders Owen Caissie, Ismael Mena, and Yeison Santana along with shortstop Reggie Preciado. So far, the clubs have yet to confirm the move.
It’s the first major trade made by the Cubs since Jed Hoyer took over as the team’s president of baseball operations. By trading Darvish, the team is unloading a lot of salary, since he was owed $22 million in 2021, $19 million in 2022, and $18 million in 2023.
Darvish ended up playing for the Cubs for three seasons after joining the team as a free agent in the winter of 2018, signing a six-year, $126 million deal. He struggled with injuries that first season, appearing in just eight games with a 1-3 record with a 4.95 ERA.
After struggling early in 2019, Darvish found his groove with the Cubs, sporting a 2.95 ERA after the All-Star Break with 118 strikeouts compared to just seven walks in 13 games. It all came together in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, as he went 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA with 93 strikeouts compared to just 14 walks.
He finished as a Cy Young Award finalist, losing out to the Reds’ Trevor Bauer.
Caratini became Darvish’s preferred catcher over the last two years and will now join the pitcher in San Diego. The versatile player, who also played first baseman and designated hitter during his four years at the major league level, hit .241/.333/.328 in 44 games for the Cubs in 2020.
Davies will provide the Cubs immediate help at the big league level, and he’s not a stranger to the team, having pitched against the Cubs often while with the Brewers from 2015-2019. In his one season in San Diego, the pitcher was 7-4 with a 2.73 ERA with 63 strikeouts compared to 19 walks.
During his time in Milwaukee, Davies was 43-32 with a 3.91 ERA, going 7-7 against the Cubs with a 3.61 ERA in 19 career games against his new team.