Chicago Cubs: 5 moves that made the Cubs afraid to spend in free agency

Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
5 of 6
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs made a decision to offer a big contract to Yu Darvish after Jake Arrieta declined a “take it or leave it” offer.

Chicago was active in the 2017 offseason knowing full well that Jake Arrieta could potentially leave after redefining his career with the team. Arrieta had a career 5.46 ERA with the Baltimore Orioles and was eventually packaged in the trade with reliever Pedro Strop for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger.

More from Da Windy City

Seeking a fresh start, Arrieta pitched five seasons for the Cubs to the tune of a 2.73 ERA with two no-hitters and helped bring a World Series championship to the north side. Arrieta was seeking a long-term deal after the 2017 season in the range of $200 million. The Cubs saw an opportunity to sign one of the elite pitchers in the game at a potentially lower cost in Yu Darvish, who had the 16th best ever strikeouts-per-nine-innings in 2013.

Darvish signed a six-year deal with the Cubs worth $126 million in February 2018. The Cubs reportedly offered Arrieta a six-year “take it or leave it” deal right before signing Darvish, who had a 3.86 ERA in 2017 split between the Rangers and Dodgers.

Darvish made just eight starts for the Cubs in 2018 to the tune of a 7.50 ERA and missed the rest of the season with elbow and triceps injury. He tried to make a late comeback to be ready for the postseason but was shut down after re-injuring himself after one inning in a rehab start with the South Bend Cubs.

He’s off to an “ok” start in 2019, pitching just 12 innings in three starts with a 7.50 ERA. He’ll need to become the ace the Cubs signed him to be, otherwise, it will go down as one of the worst free agent signings in franchise history.