Jan. 23: The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney writes that there’s “a sense” that Darvish’s talks with interested parties have gained momentum recently. Moreover, Mooney writes that Darvish’s options are “not limited to the teams identified publicly” — meaning the Cubs, Twins, Rangers, Brewers, Dodgers and Yankees. Darvish remains a focus for the Cubs, according to Mooney, who adds that a reunion with Arrieta “appears to be a long shot.”
Meanwhile, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that a rival exec who has recently been in contact with the Twins expressed some doubt about Minnesota’s willingness to sign Darvish if it means pushing into the $150MM territory.
Jan. 22, 10:45pm: The Cubs are “having active talks” with Darvish, according to a report from the Associated Press. That said, it’s also clear from the report that there is no agreement in place.
Speculation surrounding the connection between Darvish and the Cubs already increased earlier tonight, as it emerged that the club has a deal in place with catcher Chris Gimenez — who once forged a strong bond with Darvish when the two played with the Rangers.
2:01pm: Free agent righty Yu Darvish has received “at least” one five-year offer, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). Crasnick does not specify if the five-year offer is the one which he’s reportedly received from the Brewers, though Milwaukee is indeed one of the teams in the mix for Darvish, per the report. The Twins, Rangers, Cubs and Dodgers are also in play at the moment, he adds.
Earlier this month, Darvish was reportedly choosing among six teams — the Twins, Rangers, Cubs, Yankees and Astros, with one mystery team added to the bunch by Darvish himself (on Twitter). The Dodgers were later reported to remain in the mix for Darvish, and it now appears that the Brewers have joined the pursuit while the Astros are out of the picture after their acquisition of Gerrit Cole.
There’s no mention of the dollars in Crasnick’s report, and the lack of context makes it difficult to assess the situation. Much has been made this offseason of teams preferring to sign free agents to shorter-term deals at a higher annual value, and if that’s the case with Darvish’s five-year offer, then perhaps the overall value of the deal isn’t that far from early offseason expectations. (Many pundits, MLBTR included, projected six years for Darvish at the beginning of the offseason.) If the AAV is on the low end of the spectrum, however, then it perhaps isn’t difficult to see why Darvish and his reps at Wasserman have yet to jump on the contract.
With just about three weeks until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, there are still well over 100 free agents that need to find homes, so at some point one would have to imagine that either agents or clubs will begin to blink, setting the stage for a flurry of activity. There’s no evidence that Darvish and his agents are close to doing so at this juncture, though it stands to reason that his signing could have a trickle-down effect of sorts. Many of the same teams vying for his services have been linked to Alex Cobb and Jake Arrieta, and once those pieces fall into place, the remaining free-agent starters on the market could conceivably begin to come off the board.