The Minnesota Twins pursued Yu Darvish all offseason and ultimately missed out on him, but missing out on his contract is good for the Twins.
Before Darvish chose the Cubs, it is not like the Twins didn’t give him a fair offer. The Twins are reported to have made a contract offer in the area of 5 years and $100 million. At the end of the day, Darvish wanted the Cubs and their 6 years $126 million offer. There are plenty of reasons why it is good the Twins didn’t try to match that offer.
First of all is the contract length. The whole offseason the rumor was that both Darvish and Jake Arrieta were waiting out for a sixth year on a deal. The question with both pitchers is how much longer will they be successful front-line starters at the major league level or at what point will whoever signs them be paying an ageing middle of the roation or lower pitcher ace level money.
The Twins offered 5 years and stood pat on that. It is clear the front office determined how far they could go before it would completely hinder the Twins long-term and said take it or leave it.
No Trade Clause
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Darvish was able to negotiate a full no-trade clause for most of the contract, which then switches over to a 12-team no-trade list as currently reported. Not only is their concern about Darvish’s ability to contribute for the full length of his contract, now there is a very limited ability to dump the contract if he can’t. No thank-you.
One of the last pieces of this contract that is worrisome is the opt-out clause. After the 2019 season, Darvish has the opportunity to opt-out of this contract and to pursue a different one. So best case is that Darvish performs how the Cubs hope he will, realizes he can sign a bigger contract, opts out and leaves. Worst case, he regresses early and pitches horribly and now the Cubs are stuck with his contract for 6 years with a limited trade market.
It would have been great to have Darvish lining up to toe the rubber every fifth day for the Twins in 2018. I for one am glad the front office evaluated what either was a good contract for Darvish and what they could afford long-term without hamstringing the franchise and stuck to it.
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This is also written with the assumption that the front office will be signing or trading for another quality starter in the coming days or weeks.