The San Diego Padres are reportedly not done improving the team for 2021 after acquiring 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday night.
It is being reported that the Padres are “deep into talks” about acquiring the ace of the Chicago Cubs, Yu Darvish.
Even after landing Blake Snell, the Padres are deep into talks to acquire Yu Darvish from the Cubs, sources tell @PJ_Mooney, @sahadevsharma and me. If the deal is completed, multiple players would head to Chicago.
— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) December 28, 2020
In the shortened 2020 season, Darvish put up the best year of his prolific career. He finished in second place for the National League Cy Young award with a 2.01 ERA and .961 WHIP in 76 innings. This low WHIP comes courtesy of a career-low 4.7% walk rate and 1.66 BB/9.
His success in 2020 is no outlier. Darvish built on his success from the last half of 2019 when he recorded a 2.76 ERA with a .808 WHIP in his last 81 ⅔ innings. This stretch seemingly got him over his “woes” from the 2017 postseason through the first half of 2019.
The strikeout is more common than ever, and Darvish stands out from the rest. His career strikeout rate of 11.9 k/9 is the best in MLB history. On a season-by-season basis, he only topped the league once, which came back in 2013. However, his consistently high strikeout rate always puts him near the top of the league.
Darvish is known for his very diverse pitch arsenal. He throws a cutter, a four-seam fastball, a slider, a 12-6 curveball, and a changeup/split-fingered fastball. This arsenal makes him one of the hardest pitchers to prepare for and face as a hitter.
It remains unclear what a potential deal would include from the Padres.
Three years are remaining on Darvish’s contract, which will average just above $19 million per year. Given Darvish’s track record, this is a team-friendly contract.
If the Padres do acquire Darvish, they will have two bonafide aces in Snell and Darvish. If Dinelson Lamet returns healthily in 2021 and performs similar to 2020, the best rotation in baseball might be in San Diego.