16 February, 2018
It took almost three and a half months, but an Major League Baseball free agent finally landed a nine-figure contract this past weekend. The volume of cameras and reporters was a testament to this.
And so, Tuesday afternoon, a roughly 20-foot-by-30-foot room set up as workspace for about 15 media members found itself crammed with almost 100 people - dozens of journalists from Chicago and Japan, the Cubs' brass, a couple of agents and the person chiefly responsible for this mash-up of winter and spring rites: right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish.
"He is probably the preeminent strikeout pitcher of our generation (and has) incredible physical abilities".
Now he's with the Cubs.
Following the signing of free agent starter Yu Darvish, here's a look at the Cubs' odds to win the 2018 World Series. Darvish allowed nine runs over 3.1 innings to the Houston Astros in the World Series last fall.
This event took place on December 18th when Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer met with Darvish in a meeting set up by agent Joel Wolfe. "Two starts isn't going to change anything", said Brandon Morrow, the Cubs' new closer and Darvish's Dodgers' teammate at the end of last season.
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"I found it to be a really productive meeting". Per Heyman, the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins are now the favorites to land Arrieta with Yu Darvish off the market, and the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals are also in the fray. "All of us were really impressed and really comfortable". He had put a lot of thought into things that had gone right in his career and things that he wanted to continue to improve and what his goals were for the rest of his career.
Of course, the Cubs couldn't be happier to add Darvish to their rotation. I'm not one of them. "With these five guys that are in the rotation, I think everybody does an unbelievable job of staying in the moment and understanding what that means".
Interest continued from January through the beginning part of February, before a deal was finally struck on Saturday.
"Theo was in touch with Joel all the time". I say painful because Chicago sports fans have had to suffer through the Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks' lackluster seasons while waiting for baseball's triumphant return.
That's why he was walking into Sloan Park on Tuesday for his meeting with the media and his team.
I am as confident as anyone that the Cubs will contend with the Dodgers, the Nationals and others for the top spot in the National League this coming season.