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Report: Cubs showing interest in Yu Darvish

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The Cubs are still in the market for another starting pitcher to round out their rotation, and Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports that they have their sights set on free agent right-hander Yu Darvish. Darvish is expected to command one of the biggest contracts in free agency this offseason, however, and it doesn’t look like the Cubs have settled on a concrete offer as of yet.

The 31-year-old righty split his 2017 run between the Rangers and Dodgers following a midseason trade to Los Angeles. He posted a combined 3.5 fWAR for the teams and went 10-12 in 31 starts, complemented by a 3.86 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 in 186 2/3 innings. More importantly, he paired his consistency on the mound with a bout of relative good health, missing just 10 days on the disabled list with a back injury and avoiding the shoulder and elbow problems that haunted him after he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015.

While Darvish won’t come cheap, any team interested in signing him won’t have to relinquish a draft pick in order to do so. That could sweeten the deal for the Cubs, whose pursuit of fellow free agent Alex Cobb appears to have cooled considerably. Per Levine, both the “price and length” of a contract for Cobb was prohibitive, and it’s worth pointing out that the club would have had to throw in their second-highest draft pick and $500,000 in international bonus pool money with any potential offer.

As for Darvish, he seems to have his pick of teams to choose from: along with the Cubs, the Dodgers, Astros and Twins are all currently thought to be in on the right-hander.

Ronald Acuna tops Keith Law’s top-100 prospect list

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ESPN’s Keith Law has released his annual top-100 prospects list. According to Law, Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna is the number one prospect in baseball.

After blazing through High-A and Double-A ball last season, Acuna was the youngest player in Triple-A in 2017. He was 19 years-old all season long and put up a fantastic line of .335/.384/.534 in 486 plate appearances at Double and Triple-A. He then went on to star in the Arizona Fall League, leading that circuit in homers. Law, who is not one to throw hyperbolic comps around, says, “if Acuna stays in center and maxes out his power, he’s going to be among the best players in baseball, with a Mike Trout-ish profile.”

Acuna, who is 20 now, is likely play the bulk of the season in Atlanta, even if he’s kept down at Triple-A for the first couple of weeks of the season to manipulate his service time, er, I mean to allow him to develop his skills more fully. Or something. Given the presence of reigning Gold Glove center fielder Ender Inciarte, Acuna is not likely to man center for the Braves this year, but Law says he’d be a plus right field defender, which could make the Braves outfield Death to Flying Things in 2018. At least when Nick Markakis is not playing.

Number two on the list: Blue Jays third base prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. As law notes, the name may be familiar but he’s not very much like his old man. Mostly because young Vlad can take a walk. Which is better, even if it’s nowhere near as fun as swinging at balls that bounce in the dirt first.

For the other 98, you’ll have to click through.