The San Diego Padres have made another offseason splash, as they're set to acquire ace right-hander Yu Darvish from the Cubs as part of a seven-player trade, the team announced Tuesday night. The Cubs will receive veteran right-hander Zach Davies and a package of four prospects in a deal that was reportedly agreed to Monday night. The Padres will also get catcher Victor Caratini in the trade.
The Darvish trade comes not long after the Padres, coming off a playoff season in 2020, swung a deal with the Rays for left-hander Blake Snell and reportedly came to terms with Korean infielder Ha-Seong Kim.
Darvish, 34, is coming off a season in which he posted the best ERA+ (221) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.64) of his career, albeit in only 12 starts. Darvish's performance was such that it earned him a second-place finish in National League Cy Young Award voting, behind then-Cincinnati Reds righty Trevor Bauer. (Bauer is now a free agent.) In three seasons with the Cubs, Darvish has compiled a 3.60 ERA (121 ERA+) with a 4.08 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Darvish has three years and $59 million remaining on his contract.
The 27-year-old Caratini served as Darvish's personal catcher in 2020 and for much of 2019. He's a switch-hitter who's batted .250/.327/.372 across parts of four major-league seasons.
Right now, the Padres' 2021 rotation includes Darvish, Snell, Dinelson Lamet, and Chris Paddack. As well, top prospect MacKenzie Gore isn't far from the highest level, and Mike Clevinger will return in 2022 after he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
As for the Cubs' side of things, Davies, who turns 28 in February, will give the Cubs some sorely needed rotation help. The right-hander owns a career ERA+ of 114 and a K/BB ratio of 2.50 in 123 career starts. He's in line to be eligible for free agency following the upcoming season.
The prospects the Cubs get back are shortstop Reginald Preciado, outfielder Owen Caissie, outfielder Ismael Mena, and shortstop Yeison Santana. Preciado, 17, is a switch-hitting potential five-tool infielder whose $1.3 million signing bonus set a record for a prospect out of Panama. From the Cubs' standpoint, Preciado appears to be the most promising addition.
Caissie, 18, was a second-round pick out of Canada, and he boasts projectable power and enough arm for right field. Mena, 18, has a solid offensive toolkit, excellent speed, and promising range in the outfield. He's also got the potential to develop more power from the left side. Santana, 20, has put up strong numbers across two lower levels. He's got the arm to stick on the left side of the infield and good bat-to-ball skills with the promise of more power once he fills out.