BREAKING: Padres Acquire Yu Darvish From the Cubs
Not three hours earlier, I released a long article about the Padres and their trade for star starting pitcher Blake Snell. I had mentioned that inside sources were reporting that the Padres were gearing up for another big move, and just a few hours later that deal was made. The Padres will acquire starting pitcher Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Zach Davies, and four prospects including, shortstop Reginald Preciado (San Diego’s 11th ranked prospect), outfielder Owen Casie (San Diego’s 13th ranked prospect), outfielder Ismael Mena (San Diego’s 15th ranked prospect), and shortstop Yeison Santana (San Diego’s 16th ranked prospect).
Wow! I was not expecting this news to come in so quickly, but Yu Darvish is another great fit for San Diego. This is an absolute bundle for Darvish, and I believe it’s the signal that the Cubs are ready to sell some pieces off and start to rebuild that core. Darvish, who is now 34 years old, will be joining his fourth team in the last five years, after spending the last three seasons with the Cubs. 2020, was nothing short of stunning for Darvish, as he finished the season second in National League Cy Young voting, which was influenced by his 2.01 ERA, N.L. leading 8 wins, and 93 strikeouts in 76 innings. He may be beginning to get up there in age, but he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down right now. Darvish has three years and $59 million left on his contract, which is a fair amount for a guy of his caliber. Darvish will slide into the second spot in the Padres rotation after the trade behind Blake Snell.
Zach Davies, who’s now headed to Chicago, also had a great 2020 season to the tune of a 2.73 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP in 69.1 innings pitched during his only season in San Diego. Darvish is definitely an upgrade over Davies, but this move also provides security for the team, as Davies is a free agent after the 2021 season and was not likely to be re-signed by the Padres.
For the Cubs, this is a great deal. Davies is probably just a one year rental, but if the team ends up competing for the playoffs, he’s a really good arm to have in that rotation for that push. They also acquire four of the Padres top 16 prospects, who on paper have a lot of potential, but are not guaranteed bets to be decent players in the MLB. All four of them are at least three years away from the majors as they’re all in rookie league right now. At the earliest you may see Santana on the team in 2023, but that’s the best case scenario. I think 2024-2025 is the probable timeline for these young guys so we will have to see how they develop.
The Cubs still feel like they can win now with this trade, and this restocks their farm system with some solid position players that will help them in the future. The N.L. Central winner will most likely be a weaker team this year, so even if the Cubs don’t have the best season they will most likely still be competing for a division title.
As for the Padres, it’s go time in San Diego. Over the last two days they’ve given up their 3rd, 7th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th ranked prospects, starting pitcher Zach Davies, and backup catcher Fransico Mejia. Granted they do now have Blake Snell and Yu Darvish, but that’s a lot of talent going out. Lucky for them, I don’t think it will affect them that much. The majority of those prospects were years away from the big leagues, and the Padres still have their top prospect MacKenzie Gore, so I consider it a win for them.
The Padres are far and away the second best team in the National League, and I think some people would make an argument that they're better than the Dodgers but I’m not willing to go that far yet. Their rotation however, it’s filthy and I hope that the team gels well together because there is a ton of talent on the beach in San Diego.
-Andrew Gardner, UNH '23