The Cubs have placed righty Yu Darvish on the 10-day DL, per a club announcement. He is dealing with the flu.
Without knowing more, it would rate as a surprise if the treatment for this common illness mandates anything other than a brief respite. At this point, though, there’s not much of an indication of what kind of an absence the club expects.
Of course, there’s a broader slate of concerns surrounding Darvish, who joined the Cubs on a six-year, $126MM contract over the winter. He has allowed twenty runs in thirty frames over his first six starts with his new team. Perhaps, then, this DL placement will also allow the veteran hurler a chance at a more general re-set.
Darvish has carried a strikeout rate of 11.1 K/9, right at his typical level. But he’s getting swinging strikes on just 9.4% of his offerings, which is well off his career average, while doling out an uncharacteristic 4.8 free passes per nine. Plus, Darvish has been rather prone to the long ball (1.80 HR/9, 20.0% HR/FB).
It’s hard to know just what has gone wrong for Darvish thus far. Arm speed isn’t the problem, as he’s throwing both his four and two-seam fastballs harder than ever. His typically excellent slider has not been clicking, and he has seemingly experimented with throwing the pitch harder — but with less movement — over the course of the year. (See here, here, and here.) Darvish is also fiddling with his pitch mix, without yet finding the answer.
Clearly, getting Darvish back to full health is only a part of the puzzle now facing the Cubs. It’s also unclear just what the club will do to replace him in the rotation. A corresponding move has not yet been made.