Catcher Chris Gimenez, who just a few weeks ago signed with the Cubs, got a call from his agent Saturday congratulating him on Chicago also adding his former Texas batterymate Yu Darvish.
"You two got a combined $127.3 million," Steve Comte said to Gimenez. "It just so happens that Darvish got $126 million of it."
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When Gimenez agreed to his Minor League deal (his actual salary will be $1.275 million, assuming the Cubs put him on the Opening Day roster, as suspected) with the Cubs last month, it was not difficult to connect the dots. The Cubs were in the midst of recruiting Darvish at the time, and it is well known in the industry that Gimenez was Darvish's preferred catcher when the two were with the Rangers. Though the Cubs made it clear to Gimenez that they had interest in him regardless of whether they nailed down a Darvish deal and Gimenez implored Darvish to go wherever he felt most comfortable, the pitcher-catcher connection is the icing on top of Darvish's reported six-year commitment to the Cubs.
"I told him if he comes here, we're going to win a World Series, hopefully," Gimenez said. "I said, 'I'll throw in half my salary. But if we win, you have to give it back double.'"
Gimenez was not yet sure if Darvish was going to hold him to that offer, but he can't wait to work with him again.
Darvish will be a fascinating figure with the Cubs, because, on the one hand, the Dodgers' analytical approach that led to changes in his pitch patterns produced some fantastic pre-World Series results. On the other hand, Darvish struggled in two World Series starts against the Astros.
"I heard [the Dodgers] took his breaking ball away from him [Darvish threw just three curveballs in the World Series after throwing the pitch 6 percent of time during the regular season]," Gimenez said. "I can understand, it's not like his slider, but it does effectively set up other pitches. I watched him pitch in the World Series, and it wasn't necessarily him. I know it was him throwing it, and he's the one with the final say in what to throw. It's nobody's fault but his own. But I just think the game plan ... he knows the Astros as well as anybody. So [the result] must be eating him alive."
Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci had a report quoting an anonymous Astros player that Darvish was tipping his pitches in the World Series.
"You could probably count on one hand how many pitchers in baseball that don't tip their pitches," Gimenez said. "Some are so subtle that guys can't tell, others do it more than others. If they had something on him, they definitely made it work. But guys like that, with pure stuff, you can yell what's coming and they still can't hit it if you're executing."
In terms of pure stuff, Gimenez said the only guy he's caught who is comparable to Darvish is two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.
"He's an ace, and we have one in Jonathan Lester already, which is pretty awesome," Gimenez said. "Not too many people are fortunate to have one or two aces."
And Gimenez feels pretty fortunate to catch Darvish again.