Early hopes that the Cubs would pry loose a major haul from San Diego lost air throughout the evening and now may have been entirely dashed as the deal is reportedly finalized. Multiple outlets have Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini heading to the Padres in return for right-handed starter Zach Davies and four young prospects, none of whom are ranked among San Diego’s top 10.
It's close. May even be done.
Hearing Zach Davies, 17-year-old SS Reginald Preciado (Padres No.11 prospect) and 18 year-old OF Owen Caissie (No. 13) headed to Cubs as part of Yu Darvish deal.
Davies the one major leaguer going to the Cubs. Deal also involves two other prospects
— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) December 29, 2020
The 27-year-old Davies is familiar to Cubs fan from his time in Milwaukee and he’s a perfectly cromulent starting pitcher, but he’s not exactly a centerpiece. He also has an average fastball of around 89 mph, which would give the Cubs three soft-tossers in the rotation. While it’s certainly possible for that to work, having similar looks from multiple starters isn’t what I’d call ideal.
According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the top prospect coming to the Cubs organization in the deal is 17-year-old shortstop Reginald Preciado. Owen Caissie, an 18-year-old outfielder taken in the second round of the 2020 draft, is also confirmed as a part of the deal, as are 18-year-old outfielder Ismael Mena and 20-year-old (as of December 7) shortstop Yeison Santana.
Sources confirm to @dennistlin, @PJ_Mooney and me that the full deal is Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini going to the Padres and the Cubs receiving Zach Davies and prospects Reginald Preciado, Owen Caissie, Yeison Santana, Ismael Mena
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) December 29, 2020
That’s Davies plus three teenagers and a 20-year-old, so only player who will be helping the Cubs in the immediate future. Davies is entering his final year of arbitration and is expected to earn a max of $10.6 million, so he was certainly a required part of the deal to provide a little salary offset. And since he’s gone after 2021, the Cubs eliminate any long-term financial obligations.
Even though some had hoped the Cubs could fill a few roster holes by picking up MLB players like Wil Myers and/or Jake Cronenworth, this appears to be a sign that the intent is to save money and punt on 2021. It’s a quantity-over-quality move that could net some legitimate players, but it pretty clearly predicated on further slashing a payroll that was already on pace to be around $50 million under 2020.
There’s simply no way to paint this in a good light from the Cubs’ perspective. None of the prospects they’re getting have made a plate appearance above the rookie-ball level, though that’s mildly misleading due to the lost 2020 season. Still, none of them figure to be able to help in Chicago for another three years until optimal conditions and none of them are pitchers.
The Cubs are also footing $3 million of the remaining $62 million of Darvish’s deal. Most reports have him at $59 million over the next three seasons, but he got a $1 million annual bump for finishing second in Cy Young voting. Pardon my French, but what in the absolute fuck?
I’m not exaggerating when I say this is well below even the worst-case scenario I had envisioned when the news first started coming out. It’s a salary-dump, pure and simple, but it’s not even a very big one with the Cubs eating money. I wrote earlier that trading Darvish would be punting on at least ’21, if not beyond, and it sure feels like good money is on “beyond” at this point.