1:30pm: There hasn’t been much progress in talks between the Rangers and Cubs, Morosi tweets. While the Cubs continue to have interest in Darvish, they’d still prefer to add a starter who is controlled beyond just this season.
9:18am: The Cubs have checked in with the Rangers about Yu Darvish, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. Earlier today, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reported that Texas was open to at least discussing its ace with other teams, even if a trade doesn’t seem imminent.
Given that Chicago has been so aggressively pursuing starting pitching this summer, it isn’t any surprise that Theo Epstein and company have looked into Darvish. Even after landing Jose Quintana in a blockbuster deal with the White Sox, the Cubs have continued to seek out arms, asking about such names as Chris Archer, Marcus Stroman, and (perhaps most seriously) Sonny Gray. The Cubs were still interested in Gray as of last night, Morosi reports.
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A Darvish trade, however, would represent a shift in Chicago’s thinking. The Cubs have been looking into controllable pitchers that can sustain the rotation over the long term since Jake Arrieta and John Lackey will be free agents this winter. Darvish is a free agent himself in the offseason, so he would be a pure rental for the Cubs. After already surrendering several top prospects in the deals for Quintana and for Aroldis Chapman last July, the Cubs are likely wary about giving up even more top minor leaguers for just two-plus months of Darvish’s services. Then again, since Darvish would clearly be the best rental pitcher on the market, the Cubs may be willing to take the plunge in this specific case in order to emerge from the crowded NL Central race and take a run at another world championship.
With Darvish’s short-term status in mind, it is possible that a Rangers/Cubs deal could expand to more than just the star right-hander. For instance, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News “would not be surprised” if Jonathan Lucroy also became involved in trade talks between the two clubs, as the Cubs have been looking for a catching upgrade since parting ways with Miguel Montero.