Cubs make jump in odds after signing Yu Darvish

Updated: February 12, 2018

The Chicago Cubs made big news this weekend by signing Yu Darvish to a contract. Darvish was considered the best starting pitcher on the market and will effectively replace Jake Arrieta‘s spot in the Cubs’ rotation.

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The move sees the Cubs make a jump in both the National League Pennant odds and the World Series odds. In the odds we posted last week, the Cubs were +500 at 5Dimes to win the National League Pennant. After making this signing, those odds are now +400. They are still behind both the Nationals and Dodgers, but that is still a decent jump for just one signing.

The move in the World Series odds was even bigger. On February 1st, they were +1200 to win the 2018 World Series at 5Dimes. Those odds have come all the way down to +900 after this signing which is a major improvement. Based on odds alone, it’s hard not to call this deal a big win for the Cubs.

The deal is favorable for Darvish too, but is not quite as much money as most were predicting heading into free agency. The deal is for $126MM over six years with bonuses that could see the deal reach $150MM. There is a no-trade clause built into the contract with an opt-out option for Darvish after the 2019 season. That’ll be very interesting to see if he ends up taking that one. The no-trade clause is reportedly full for the first part of the contract before switching to a 12-team.

Chicago was already the big favorite in the National League Central, but this just solidifies that. The team will pair Yu Darvish with Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana in what should be one of the best rotations in the National League. There are questions about the bullpen, but there are enough solid pieces in there that it should be pretty good next season. Justin Wilson, Carl Edwards Jr. and Steve Cishek are among the names who should make up the back end of the pen in 2018.

Of course, the reason that everyone is excited about the Cubs is that offense (and defense). Kris Bryant is a perennial MVP candidate, Anthony Rizzo is one of the more consistent players in the league and the offense is brimming with young offensive talent. Wilson Contreas, Javier Baez, Ian Happ and Addison Russell could have a major breakout at any time to send this team into the next stratosphere. Of course, even if they stay just as good as they are right now this team is a shoo-in for the playoffs in 2018.

This seems like a great deal for the Cubs, but you always have to be worried about health when it comes to Darvish. He missed all of 2015 and part of 2016 while only managing 186.2 innings. He’s basically been pitching with a major workload since he was a teenager in Japan and hasn’t really stopped except for that big injury a couple of years ago. Arm issues in his future are a given. Still, for the 2018 Cubs this will make them a World Series contender and right now that’s all that matters.

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