Report: Cubs sign Yu Darvish

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Cubs have a six-year, $126 million contract in place with free agent right-hander Yu Darvish. The deal tops out at $150 million with incentives and includes an opt-out after the second year. While the signing is pending a physical and still has yet to be confirmed by the team, it finally looks like the long months of speculation and rumors can be put to bed.

Darvish, 31, is set to join a rotation that already features several top-tier names, including Jose Quintana, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood. The Cubs’ rotation ranked sixth among NL teams in 2017 with a combined 4.05 ERA and 11.8 fWAR and stands to benefit greatly from the addition of an ace pitcher who supported the Rangers and Dodgers with a cumulative 3.86 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, 10.1 SO/9 and 3.5 fWAR last season.

Not only does the Cubs’ acquisition represent a significant shift in what has been a very strange and tense offseason, but it should open the door to numerous other free agent signings, as many clubs were waiting on Darvish (among others) to find a landing spot before making their moves this winter. Additional reports from Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports indicate that the Twins, Dodgers and Brewers were in the mix for Darvish until the end and were thought to have five-year, $100+ million offers on the table. Now, it appears they could target the next-best free agent starter left on the market: right-hander Jake Arrieta.

Houston’s Yordan Alvarez leaves game with ankle discomfort

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HOUSTON — Houston slugger Yordan Alvarez left the Astros’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth inning with left ankle discomfort.

Alvarez, who is tied for second in the American League with 37 home runs, rolled his ankle running out of the box on a single in the first inning.

He looked to be in some pain as he jogged to first base and was checked on briefly by manager Dusty Baker and a trainer before remaining in the game. Serving as the designated hitter, he struck out in the third inning before being replaced by pinch-hitter David Hensley for his at-bat in the fifth.