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Cubs 'laying in the weeds' for Darvish

MLB.com

As Spring Training nears, Yu Darvish could be a logical fit for several clubs looking to upgrade the front end of their starting rotations. The 31-year-old right-hander posted a 3.86 ERA in 31 starts between the Rangers and Dodgers in 2017, helping Los Angeles reach the World Series.

Darvish boasts a career 3.42 ERA and 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings across five seasons. The four-time All-Star reportedly has several offers on the table, with the Cubs, Twins and Brewers among the front-runners to sign him.

As Spring Training nears, Yu Darvish could be a logical fit for several clubs looking to upgrade the front end of their starting rotations. The 31-year-old right-hander posted a 3.86 ERA in 31 starts between the Rangers and Dodgers in 2017, helping Los Angeles reach the World Series.

Darvish boasts a career 3.42 ERA and 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings across five seasons. The four-time All-Star reportedly has several offers on the table, with the Cubs, Twins and Brewers among the front-runners to sign him.

Likeliest destination for Darvish might be Cubs
The Cubs are "the team that's sort of laying in the weeds" in the Darvish sweepstakes, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported on MLB Network, saying that the sources he's spoken to seem to believe that the right-hander will end up with Chicago.

According to Feinsand, it seems like Darvish wants to go to a big-market team like the Cubs, Yankees or Dodgers -- and that, while Darvish has been waiting for New York and Los Angeles to get involved, neither has jumped into the bidding and don't appear likely to do so.

The Cubs would be looking to sign Darvish to replace Jake Arrieta, who is the other marquee free-agent starting pitcher on the market. -- This report was first posted on Feb. 9.

Tweet from @MLBNetwork: "The @Cubs are the team that's, sort of, laying in the weeds."@Feinsand talks about Yu Darvish with #MLBNHotStove. pic.twitter.com/4J5RQ3M8o1

Brewers, Twins raise stakes in Darvish pursuit
Both the Brewers and Twins could be among the teams who have offered Darvish a nine-figure contract, according to a report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman on Thursday.

A source told Heyman that Milwaukee is one of the clubs that has made Darvish a $100 million-plus offer. Even with the high-profile moves they've already made, the Brewers have reportedly been aggressive in their pursuit of Darvish.

:: Free agent buzz ::

Also per Heyman's report, the Twins are believed to have been willing to offer Darvish a deal of five years or more, which would likely push their offer into the nine-figure range as well.

Both clubs need starting pitching -- both of their No. 1 starters, the Brewers' Jimmy Nelson and the Twins' Ervin Santana, will miss significant chunks of the season as they recover from surgeries. But it might take something extra for either one to land Darvish. According to Heyman, there's "reason to believe" Darvish might prefer to return to one of his former clubs, the Rangers or Dodgers, or sign with the Cubs.

On the other hand, both Texas and Los Angeles appear to be longshots to hand out the kind of deal that would be required to get a marquee free-agent starter like Darvish. -- This report was first posted on Feb. 8.

Cubs poised to make serious run at Darvish 
Among the three teams most prominently connected to Darvish in recent weeks, the Cubs seem to be in the best position to land the four-time All-Star, notes USA TODAY Sports. Darvish has been waiting to see if the Dodgers or Yankees will clear payroll space to try to sign him.

Darvish reportedly has multiple five-year offers on the table. Assuming that sitting out the 2018 season while waiting for the Dodgers or Yankees to clear payroll space is not an option, the USA TODAY report suggests the Cubs, who have reached the National League Championship Series in each of the past three seasons -- and won the World Series in 2016 -- are the most attractive destination among the remaining trio. -- This report was first posted on Feb. 7.

Darvish drawing interest, weighing options
Darvish isn't a victim of a lack of interest. A slow market hasn't stopped Darvish from teasing fans with hinting, cryptic tweets regarding his free agent status all offseason.

One of those came after a lunch with Rangers president of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels, with whom Darvish maintains a strong relationship after spending his first four and a half big league seasons in Texas. The Rangers, though, are not considered favorites to sign Darvish, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

"All along, I've felt like this was not the year -- for a variety of reasons -- that we were going to be in at the top of the market," Daniels told Morosi recently. "We tried to be aggressive in identifying some pitchers we liked, but we were spreading out resources."

That still leaves a variety of potential suitors, all with big aspirations heading into 2018.

The Brewers seem intent to add a pitcher at some point, but may do so by trading from their outfield surplus. Many expect the Cubs to make a splash, and Chicago has engaged significantly with Darvish this offseason.

The Phillies have also checked in, according to MLB Network Insider Ken Rosenthal.

It all adds up to a still very unclear picture of where Darvish will land, and for what price. -- This report was first posted on Feb. 7.

Yu Darvish