The Cubs and Yu Darvish didn’t get off on the right foot after agreeing on a six-year, $126 million contract in February last year. Darvish made eight ineffective starts and otherwise was absent due to elbow and triceps injuries. The right-hander underwent debridement surgery in September.
Darvish started against the White Sox in a Cactus League game on Sunday afternoon and fared quite well as he works his way back to form. He held the opposition hitless with three strikeouts. After the game, Darvish was quite optimistic about his performance. Via The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney), Darvish said, “I’m throwing 97 [MPH] and the slider was very good and the split was good, too, so that’s the best stuff in my life.”
That’s a slight variation on “I’m in the best shape of my life.” Not to poke too much fun, because a healthy and effective Darvish is a fun Darvish. The 32-year-old entered last season with a 3.42 ERA and 1,021 strikeouts in 832 1/3 career innings.
Darvish will hope to be a mainstay in a Cubs starting rotation that also includes Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Kyle Hendricks, and José Quintana.
Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reports that the Red Sox are nearing an agreement with pitcher Zack Godley. It is still unclear whether the contract will be of the minor or major league variety.
Godley, 30, was with the Tigers on a minor league contract but the club released him in early April. The right-hander pitched for the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays last season, amassing 92 innings with a 5.97 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio. Godley was quite solid for the D-Backs in 2017, posting a 3.37 ERA over 155 innings, so the Red Sox are hoping to see that version of him.
The Red Sox need starting pitching depth with Chris Sale out for the year due to Tommy John surgery and Eduardo Rodríguez sidelined because of a positive COVID-19 test. Collin McHugh is also still on the mend from an elbow injury. The starting rotation at the moment includes Nathan Eovaldi, Martín Pérez, Ryan Weber, and Brian Johnson. It is certainly the club’s biggest weakness.
The Red Sox open up the 2020 regular season at home against the Orioles on July 24. Eovaldi would seem to be the one to get the Opening Day nod. Godley could slot in anywhere else in the rotation, from No. 2 to 5.