When the Chicago Cubs signed former Texas Ranger Chris Gimenez, many took it as a precursor to a Yu Darvish signing due to their success together in Texas. However, Gimenez is yet to play in the show in 2018.
Yu Darvish is struggling start after start, bringing the Chicago Cubs newest pitcher some familiarity could help him find his footing.
It’s no secret that Darvish hasn’t been pitching as well as the Cubs hoped when signing him. In his 25.2 IP in 2018, his ERA is 5.26. Batters are hitting .238 against Darvish—.012 points higher than 2017 and .37 higher than his pre-2018 season average.
And interestingly, it appears that the Cubs haven’t done a ton to help him. They haven’t tried pairing Darvish with backup catcher Victor Caratini. His approach to hitters has been more-or-less the same. So if the Cubs believe the formula with Darvish is right, why aren’t the results following?
Cubs asking for too much out of Darvish
When he was officially announcing the Darvish signing to the world, Theo Epstein repeatedly alludes to an expectation that Darvish still has some untapped potential. And maybe the Cubs tried to hard to unlock that potential. It could be that the Cubs saw something mechanically in Darvish that they thought they could “fix.” But maybe in “fixing” Darvish, they messed up his mechanics.
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Whatever the reason may be for his shortcomings, it’s safe to say most Cubs’ fans would prefer for Darvish to pitch like he did in Texas. And the Cubs just might have the tool to bring Darvish back to that place.
Why Gimenez could be the answer
The Cubs aren’t unfamiliar with the role of a personal catcher; they won a World Series with their ace requiring one all season.
Chris Gimenez and Darvish worked together in Texas. In 2014, Darvish threw 79.1 innings to Gimenez for an ERA of 3.29. They were a dominant duo for Texas. What’s more frustrating about the Cubs’ lack of action on the matter: Gimenez is already in the Cubs system. It would cost the Cubs nothing to put him on their MLB roster in exchange for Caratini.
It’s nearly inexcusable. Yu Darvish has looked lost on the mound beyond the first few innings. The Chicago Cubs already have a guy that has had proven success is catching Darvish. How long does Darvish have to pitch this poorly before the Cubs go to the most obvious answer?