The San Diego Padres have finalized a trade for 2020 Cy Young finalist Yu Darvish, solidifying an already stacked starting rotation for years to come.
Darvish finished second in Cy Young voting in 2020, posting a career best ERA of 2.01 in 76 innings. In return for the Chicago Cubs ace, the Padres will lose Zach Davies, who had a career year of his own in 2020, and four prospects that weren’t particularly close to making a major league impact.
But the main thing that the Cubs are getting in return for Darvish is salary relief. This is the first major move of an impending rebuild, and Darvish still has about $60 million left on his contract over three years.
The Padres are in their first window of title contention in years. Before 2020, they hadn’t been in the playoffs since 2006. And adding Darvish to the rotation for 2021 and beyond will only solidify their playoff potential. As it stands, the Padres are entering the 2021 season with a front three of Dinelson Lamet, Blake Snell, and Yu Darvish. Lamet and Darvish were Cy Young candidates in 2020 and Snell is only two years removed from an AL Cy Young award. And the rotation will only get better in 2022 with the return of Mike Clevinger from Tommy John surgery.
And it’s refreshing to see a team so aggressive in making improvements this off-season. All fans have heard since the season ended is how bad Covid-19 was for team finances. With other teams looking to shed payroll fast, Padres GM AJ Preller added $30 million worth of aces to his books.
This is the first exciting day of the Major League Baseball off-season. And it’s only fitting that the most exciting team in baseball was responsible for it. After adding Snell and Darvish to the rotation, the San Diego Padres should be a lock for the 2021 postseason.