February 12, 2018


The Cubs have now replaced starters Jake Arrieta and John Lackey with Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood.

Is it good enough?

The Astros won the World Series with a starting rotation that had the following performance:

Fiers 8-10, 5.22 ERA, -0.6 WAR
Morton 14-7, 3.62, 1.8 WAR
Kuechel 14-5, 2.90 ERA, 3.9 WAR
Peacock 13-2, 3.00 ERA, 3.0 WAR
McCullers 7-4, 4.25 ERA 0.9 WAR
Verlander 5-5, 1.06 ERA, 1.8 WAR.

Astros rotation core:  63 wins (of 101 total), 9.8 WAR.

The Cubs new rotation:

Lester, 13-8, 4.33 ERA, 1.0 WAR
Darvish 10-12, 3.86 ERA, 3.8 WAR
Hendricks 7-5, 3.03 ERA, 3.3 WAR
Quintana 11-11, 4.15 ERA, 2.2 WAR
Chatwood 8-15, 4.69 ERA, 2.1 WAR.

The Cubs rotation core: 49 wins, 12.4 WAR.

The key to the Astros success was the fact that they had four bullpen pitchers with ERAs under 3.00 who could close out games.

As for the Darvish contract, under the old WAR valuation standard, his 3.8 WAR equates to a value of $20.9 million/season. The Darvish contract averages $21 million per season. Apparently, the Cubs offered the 6th year to get under the luxury cap and to get the deal done. One could suspect that the Brewers and/or Twins offered Darvish $125 million so the Cubs upped the ante by only a small amount.

The Darvish deal does help stabilize the pitching rotation which is still extremely thin in the minors. Eddie Butler, who is out of options, may have to kept in the bullpen or be lost after spring training.

The Darvish signing keeps the Cubs as expected divisional champs in the NL Central.