Cubs

Cubs trade Darvish to Padres in seven-player deal

Cubs

From Cy Yu to see you.

The Cubs have traded ace Yu Darvish to the Padres in a five-for-two blockbuster, the club announced Tuesday night.

The deal also includes Darvish’s personal catcher Victor Caratini and cash going to the Padres, who in return are sending the Cubs starter Zach Davies, and prospects Reginald Preciado, Owen Caissie, Ismael Mena and Yeison Santana — three of whom are teenagers.

"We're excited to get back Zach Davies," Cubs president Jed Hoyer said Wednesday. "We were able to acquire four really talented young players. It's hard to acquire that kind of depth in any trade, and that's something we're really excited about.

"As far as the return, I think that the future will tell us whether that was a good return or not. I think that judging that now is sort of a fool's errand."

Darvish's value as a Cub has never been higher than now. The 34-year-old finished second in 2020 NL Cy Young Award voting after a dominant performance in the 60-game season. In 12 starts, the right-hander went 8-3 (tied for first in baseball in wins), sporting a 2.01 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, striking out 93 batters compared to 14 walks in 76 innings.

The Cubs signed Darvish to a lucrative six-year deal in February 2018, though he made just eight starts that season due to a triceps ailment. Following a down 2019 first half, he took off after the All-Star break, holding a 2.76 ERA in 13 starts leading into his Cy Young-caliber 2020 campaign.

 

Darvish, a four-time All-Star and baseball’s all-time leader in strikeouts per nine (11.1), is owed $60 million over the final three years of his contract. The Cubs are sending the Padres $3 million.

Caratini has developed great rapport catching Darvish the past two seasons (2.80 ERA, 196 1/3 innings). The 27-year-old switch-hitter is a career .250/.327/.372 hitter in parts of four big league seasons.

Davies, 28 in February, is a six-year big league veteran who spent 2015-19 with the Brewers. Milwaukee traded him to San Diego last winter and he went 7-4 with a 2.73 ERA and 1.067 WHIP in 12 starts in 2020. He holds a career 3.79 ERA and 1.275 WHIP in 123 career starts.

Davies is a sinker ball pitcher (88.4 mph average velocity in 2020) who relies on inducing soft contact and ground balls. He’s under club control through 2021 and projected to make around $8 million in arbitration.

The Padres signed Preciado, a shortstop, out of Panama during the 2019 international signing period for $1.3 million. The 17-year-old switch-hitter with line-to-line contact skills was San Diego's No. 11 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

Cassie, who turned 18 in July, is a Canadian high school player and San Diego's 2020 second-round pick. He's a 6-foot-4 outfielder with a bonafide right-handed right field arm and raw left-handed power. Cassie was the Padres' No. 13 prospect.

The Padres signed Mena for $2.2 million out of the Dominican Republic during the 2019-20 international signing period. The 18-year-old outfielder bats and throws left-handed, is athletic with plus speed and is a contact bat. He was the Padres No. 15 prospect.

Santana, 20, signed with the Padres during the 2017-18 international signing period. He's a shortstop and spent 2019 in rookie ball. He was the Padres No. 16 overall prospect.

With Darvish headed to San Diego, Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills are the only starters left from the top 5 of the Cubs’ 2020 rotation. Adbert Alzolay and Davies figure to join them in 2021, leaving depth a significant issue still to be addressed. That could involve a reunion with Jon Lester, which both sides have expressed interest in, and potentially prospects Brailyn Marquez, Tyson Miller and Cory Abbott.

At the very least, the Cubs seem to have a need for a veteran back-end starter.

This is the Padres’ second blockbuster trade this week. San Diego general manager AJ Preller acquired Rays ace Blake Snell, a deal that also became official on Tuesday. Preller, a former member of the Rangers front office, helped Texas sign Darvish out of Japan nine years ago.

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