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Cubs sign pitcher Yu Darvish to six-year, $126-million deal

Yu Darvish
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chicago Tribune

It took nearly the entire offseason, but the Cubs have landed the biggest free agent Saturday.

They agreed to terms on a six-year contract with pitcher Yu Darvish that will guarantee the prized right-hander $126 million, a source confirmed.

The deal cannot be announced until Darvish, 31, passes a physical examination. But it apparently completes the team’s mission of fortifying their rotation with free agents Jake Arrieta and John Lackey departing.

Darvish posted a 3.86 ERA in 31 starts with the Rangers and Dodgers last season, but his 209 strikeouts in 186 2/3 innings possesses the swing-and-miss stuff the Cubs were looking for. Darvish has struck out 1,021 in 832 1/3 innings over five major league seasons.

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He missed the entire 2015 season because of Tommy John surgery.

Darvish also has pitched in three postseasons (2012, 2016, 2017). He undoubtedly will be motivated to make amends for his performance in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series, when he allowed five runs in 1 2/3 innings to the Astros.

The Cubs’ rotation now is comprised of Darvish, John Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood – with left-hander Mike Montgomery destined for a swing role.

The Twins were one of the teams interested in Darvish, who has a 56-42 lifetime record and won 16 games in his rookie season with the Rangers after leaving Japan.

Darvish’s signing was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The agreement was reached four days before the Cubs will hold their first workout for pitchers and catchers in Mesa, Ariz.

This the third time in four offseasons the Cubs have make a major strike in free agency. They reached a six-year, $155 million contract with Lester before the 2015 season and signed outfielder Jason Heyward to an eight-year, $184 million contract before the 2016 season.

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