Yu Darvish agrees to six-year, $108-million contract extension with Padres

Padres pitcher Yu Darvish
Padres pitcher Yu Darvish smiles after it was announced that he was named the National League pitcher of the month during a game against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park on Oct. 3, 2022, in San Diego.
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Yu Darvish, at 36 years old, penned arguably the best season of his career.

The Padres are betting quite a bit that there’s plenty more where that came from.

The two sides have agreed to a six-year, $108-million extension that will run through the 2028 season, two people with knowledge of the deal confirmed to the San Diego Union-Tribune. first reported the extension as Darvish prepares to leave the team for what could be a lengthy stay with Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic.

Darvish, who turns 37 in August, had been set to enter free agency after this season.

Julio Urías was the Dodgers’ top pitcher in 2022 and he’s a favorite among the team’s Latino fan base. The Dodgers can’t afford to lose him in free agency.

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Instead, both he and Joe Musgrove give the Padres long-term assurances for the rotation beyond 2023 and Darvish, with his average fastball velocity still sitting in the mid-90s, looked far from the twilight of his career last season.


Darvish tied a career high with 16 wins in 2022, posted the lowest WHIP (0.95) of his career and averaged 5.32 strikeouts for every walk, the second-best ratio of his career. His 194 2/3 innings (3.10 ERA) were also the second most he’s thrown in the majors, a total that likely would have easily eclipsed 200 had the Padres not employed a six-man rotation for a large stretch of the season to keep their starting pitchers fresh for the postseason.

And Darvish certainly was fresh, striking out 23 batters over 25 innings (2.88 ERA) over four starts as the Padres reached the NLCS for the third time in franchise history.

The season was something of a rebound for Darvish, who was dogged by back and hip issues while posting a 6.16 ERA after the All-Star break in 2021. Before that, he’d gone 7-3 with a 3.09 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 105 innings to earn his fifth All-Star invite in his first year in San Diego.

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The Padres acquired him for Zach Davies and four teenage prospects before the 2021 season from the Chicago Cubs, who’d signed him to a six-year, $126-million deal in February 2018 but were looking to get out from under that contract at the start of another rebuild.

The Padres had assumed roughly $60 million over the final three years of that contract and were set to pay him $19 million this season.

Darvish’s new deal — which, for luxury tax purposes, trims his annual average value from $21 million under the old contract to $18 million — means he will be pitching until he’s 43 years old. Between his 10 years in the United States and seven years pitching in Japan before signing with the Texas Rangers ahead of the 2012 season, Darvish has thrown 2,789 innings in 17 years as a pro and surpassed 3,000 strikeouts last September.


Only he and Hideo Nomo, an advisor with the Padres, have ever topped 3,000 strikeouts with at least 1,000 punchouts in both Japan and the U.S. and Darvish, with 3,038 strikeouts, should pass Nomo (3,122) this season.

Kevin Acee contributed to this report.