According to Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, the Chicago Cubs have officially traded starting pitcher Yu Darvish and catcher Victor Caratini to San Diego in exchange for pitcher Zach Davies and prospects Reginald Preciado, Owen Caissie, Yeison Santana, and Ismael Mena. Trade talks initially ramped up on Monday afternoon and a deal came to fruition before day’s end.
Darvish was excellent for the Cubs during the 2020 season, compiling an 8-3 record to go along with a 2.01 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 76.0 innings pitched. Darvish was also sensational in terms of containing base runners, striking out 93 batters while only walking 14 batters.
The Cubs will only receive one major league player in the deal. Zach Davies pitched fairly well for the Padres last season, going 7-4 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 63 strikeouts, and only 19 walks in 69.1 innings. Cubs fans should be familiar with Davies as he spent most of his big league career with the rival Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cubs also land SS Reginald Preciado, OF Owen Caissie, OF Ismael Mena, and SS Yeison Santana in the deal. They are the 11th, 13th, 15th, and 16th ranked prospects in the San Diego farm system, respectively.
Just because they’re not top-ten prospects in San Diego does not mean these players are not good. San Diego has a very deep farm system. That said, a reigning Cy Young runner-up not earning the Cubs at least one top-ten prospect is troublesome, especially after Blake Snell landed the Rays two top-ten prospects.
Despite Darvish’s incredible season, the decision to trade him shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to Cubs fans. The big right-hander is 34 years old and still on a fairly attractive salary for what he can do. With that in mind, selling high on the 2020 NL Cy Young runner-up makes sense for a team looking to retool for the future. It’s debatable if the return was truly a haul or not, but the concept of the move made sense.
The Cubs will have a load of payroll flexibility after the 2021 season. With the farm system on the way to the major leagues, the roster in need of a face-lift, and a new vision at the helm with Jed Hoyer instead of Theo Epstein, the Cubs can still be competitive in 2021 and beyond. This trade gives them assets for the future that will be younger and more cost-controlled. The swap also relieves the Cubs of the $59 million owed to Darvish over the next three years.