Brewers adjust search after Cubs snare Darvish

Arrieta, Cobb, Lynn among top available free-agent pitchers

February 10th, 2018

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers didn't land , but perhaps his move to the Cubs will help move the rest of the pitching market.

According to multiple reports Saturday, the Chicago Cubs were in agreement with Darvish on a six-year, $126 million contract pending a physical exam. The Cubs didn't immediately comment on the reports, but it appears Darvish chose Chicago over other clubs looking at starting pitchers, including the Dodgers, Twins and Brewers.

It marked the second time in 6 1/2 months that Milwaukee's chief National League Central rival snapped up a top starting pitcher who had been linked to the Brewers. Milwaukee general manager David Stearns had extensive talks with the White Sox in July about left-hander , but he went to the Cubs instead for a package of prospects.

Hot Stove Tracker

Darvish himself seemed to confirm via his playful Twitter feed that the Brewers were among his suitors, though Milwaukee officials never confirmed that. He could have helped fortify a Milwaukee rotation that already added free-agent right-hander but will be without ace Jimmy Nelson at the start of 2018 while he completes a comeback from shoulder surgery. At the moment, the Brewers' season-opening rotation is set to include Chase Anderson, and Chacin, with a group of pitchers that includes , , , and competing for two open spots.

The Cubs have Darvish, , , Quintana and .

Stearns and the Brewers, however, have money to spend and an eye on the starting pitching market, which remains deep. Darvish's deal could move things along for former Cub , the consensus best pitcher available as of Saturday afternoon, plus , Alex Cobb, and others. The trade market also presents opportunities, like the Rays' Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi, the Tigers' and the D-backs' .

The Brewers' payroll currently projects at $85 million-$90 million, if one accounts for deferred salaries and pending agreements with pre-arbitration players. The business supported a payroll in excess of $100 million as recently as 2015 before slipping to $50 million-$60 million in the past two years after the Brewers opted to rebuild.