According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic on Twitter, the Chicago Cubs have signed starting pitcher Yu Darvish to a deal. With that signing, will the free agent flood gates finally break open?
As you probably well know, the MLB free agent market has virtually been dormant this offseason. Outside of the Rockies making a few moves to shore up bullpen, many teams have only made a signing or two, if any at all. Also, most of the free agents that have signed already were mid- to low-level free agents.
However, yesterday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and MLB Network reported on Twitter that the Cubs plugged the trigger on a deal with free agent starting pitcher Yu Darvish on a mammoth six year deal that is could eventually be worth about $150 million.
In all reality, this will be a vast overpay on the Cubs part as Darvish will be turning 32 this August so he will almost assuredly not be as good as he is now on the back half of that contract.
What does the signing mean for the free agent market?
First off, for the free agent market, it shows that the some of the players who held out for the best deal don’t look like they will be penalized for waiting. However, I think that this will be mainly in the starting pitching market.
We saw the Cubs give the deal to Darvish because they were desperate for starting pitching and many teams are looking to build up or strengthen their starting rotation (because, you know the old adage, you can never have enough pitching).
The Cubs signed Tyler Chatwood earlier in the offseason for nearly double of what MLB Trade Rumors predicted he would get on the market and without Darvish, he was slated to be their fourth starter and he wasn’t in the top four starters for the Rockies.
However, I think that for position players, they will not see the market that they had hoped. We have seen that with the free agent signings of Todd Frazier, Alex Avila, and Yonder Alonso in the past few months as they have all been around half of what MLBTR predicted.
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What does it mean for the Rockies?
For the Rockies, I would say that this probably means that if they were talking with a starting pitcher about a contract, the price probably just went higher. If not higher, it’s not going down. With Darvish getting over paid (in years and money) like he just was, I wouldn’t expect the premium starters to take any less.
However, for position players, if the Rockies are looking at some players, whether it be for the bench, first base, or a corner outfield spot, I think that they won’t see their markets still be atrociously high.
If the Rockies can find a free agent who’s market has not materialized yet, they should pounce on them for two reasons. First off, they could get them for half of what they are really worth and secondly, they will be snatched up by other teams very soon.
Overall, the Darvish signing changes the market and if the Rockies are currently trying to sign a player and that player believes that his market has suddenly risen from the dead, the Rockies need to run as far away from that player as possible.