Padres rumors: Yu Darvish might be a trade target

Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish might be a trade target for the San Diego Padres.

If the San Diego Padres are looking to upgrade their starting rotation for 2021, we’ve already discussed the possibility of trading for either Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays or Sonny Gray of the Cincinnati Reds. However, according to one report, another possible name has emerged:

Darvish is coming off a tremendous season for the Chicago Cubs in which he placed second in the National League in Cy Young Award voting. The 33-year-old right-hander posted a 2.01 ERA in 12 starts, spanning 76 innings, in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. As always, he had a high strikeout rate, whiffing 93 batters.

Darvish has been able to turn his career around after it got off to a rough start on the north side of Chicago. He was ineffective to start 2018 before missing much of the season due to injury, and he also was subpar in the first half of 2019. However, he started trending in the right direction in the second half of 2019 due largely to his sudden ability to avoid walking batters; he gave up 49 free passes in the first half of 2019, compared to just seven in the second half of that season.

Darvish is a little older than the other trade targets we’ve mentioned here, though he is signed for three more seasons at $59 million total, so the cost might be prohibitive for the Padres as well. If they’re looking for someone with a relatively low salary, Snell or Gray, though they weren’t as good as Darvish was in 2020, would be better options.

Then there’s the matter of what the Cubs would expect in return. The Cubs are in cost-cutting mode right now, which is a big reason why they non-tendered Kyle Schwarber and have been the subject of all kinds of Kris Bryant trade rumors.

Coming off the season that he is, Darvish would command a lot in return. The Cubs would likely be looking for low-cost impact major league players, and the Padres would certainly have the talent to exchange for someone of his caliber. However, again given age and cost, plus the fact that the Cubs still hope to contend in a weak NL Central, at this point it seems unlikely that the two sides would match up on a deal.

Still, if Darvish were to pitch anywhere close to like he did with the Cubs in 2020, he would be a nice addition to the Padres’ rotation. We’ll see if anything more comes of this rumor.