Padres picked the Cubs’ pocket in the Yu Darvish trade

That’s how you stay hot on a road trip. On the heels of a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers in Arlington, headlined by Joe Musgrove tossing the first no-hitter in San Diego Padres history, the Friars just kept rolling on Monday, dominating the Pirates behind right-hander Yu Darvish.

Darvish allowed just one run over seven innings of work in the series opener, striking out six, walking just two and scattering a trio of hits in his first win as a member of the Padres. What’s even more ironic is his former team, the Cubs, just got trampled by the Bucs over the weekend, dropping two of three to a team widely considered to be the worst in baseball.

No such problems plague Darvish’s new club, though. Wil Myers stayed hot to lead the offense and the Padres cruised to a 6-2 win. But with the Cubs struggling on every front and San Diego flying high and Darvish pitching extremely well, it’s worth looking back at the deal that brought him over from Chicago.

For most Cubs fans, it’s this simple. Ownership wanted to slash payroll and make sure the team came in well under the luxury tax threshold after a lack of fans and revenue decimated the organization’s finances in 2020. The quickest way to do that when pretty much all your high-paid star players turned in the worst performances of their career? Trade the Cy Young runner-up.

Padres are the undisputed winners of the Yu Darvish trade

Did it matter that AJ Preller refused to offer any of the Padres’ top young prospects? Nope. Chicago’s new front office was fine with quantity over quality, hoping that more than one of the teenagers coming back in the deal will wind up panning out a half-decade from now.

But projecting players that young is incredibly difficult. All of them could work out. None of them could. After seeing Darvish take the ball three times now for San Diego, it’s pretty clear: the Cubs got fleeced in this trade and it could end up in the Padres finally getting that long-awaited championship.

This wasn’t Chicago trading a guy who’s past his prime. Not even close. Darvish has figured something out in his mid-30s and is perhaps a better pitcher – definitely a smarter, more confident one – than he’s ever been before.

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And he’s ready to keep on improving while anchoring a star-studded Padres rotation.