Padres, Yu Darvish agree on six-year extension

Oct 23, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) pitches in the first inning during game five of the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: AP Photo

The San Diego Padres and Yu Darvish came to terms on a six-year extension that is expected to be worth $108 million.

Darvish, a five-time All-Star, will be a Padre until 2028 when he’s 42 years old.

The veteran had a strong 2022 season, which saw him finish eighth in NL Cy Young voting. He has been basically the ace of the Padres staff for the better part of two years. He made the All-Star game in 2021 before a difficult second half saw the season get away from Darvish.

While Joe Musgrove was the superstar, Darvish was much more consistent. He was the Padres top starter entering the postseason, and he delivered. He picked up wins in his starts against the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers. While the results didn’t come against the Philadelphia Phillies, he had a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings across two starts.

Darvish is enjoying immense success over the course of his career, having finished as the runner-up in Cy Young voting in both 2013 and 2020. He made the All-Star game in each of his first three years, 2012-2014 while adding appearances in 2017 and 2021. 

Health has also been in Darvish’s favor. He’s made at least 30 starts in the last three seasons that weren’t shortened due to COVID. In those three seasons, his average innings pitched is around 180. Age seems to be only a number for Darvish, who hasn’t really slowed down. His 3.10 ERA in 2022 was his best in a 162-game season since his stellar 2013 campaign. He struck out 197 batters, a year removed from sitting down 199 via the punch-out.

The fact that Darvish displays an abundance of longevity must be giving A.J. Preller the confidence to dole out a major contract to the aging veteran.

He would have been a free agent after the season was over. The Padres are already short on starting pitching, which made it crucial to keep Darvish in San Diego. Darvish heads to Japan to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. It was important to both parties to get the deal done before the departure.

On the surface, it appears that the $108 million deal would be $18 per year (AAV). However, the report is that the deal is frontloaded. This would allow more flexibility on the back end.

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There is always a risk to be paying players in their late 30s, especially when deals go into their 40s.

However, Darvish is a crafty veteran who boasts plenty of pitches. He’ll be able to survive off of his massive pitch mix, even as his velocity deteriorates. The right-hander can be a leader in the clubhouse for years to come. He, and the recently extended Joe Musgrove, will be the two-headed monster of the Padres’ pitching staff for years to come.

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