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  • Jesse Rogers

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San Diego Padres set to acquire Yu Darvish from Chicago Cubs ESPN Editor

Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers MLB for ESPN.com.

  • Jeff Passan.

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San Diego Padres set to acquire Yu Darvish from Chicago Cubs ESPN

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The San Diego Padres are about to make a second exchange for a starter in as many days. The team is expected to acquire Chicago Cubs’ right-handed Yu Darvish, according to sources familiar with the case.

Darvish and Victor Caratini, who has become Chicago’s personal right-hand man, will travel to San Diego as soon as the deal is completed, sources said Monday.

In exchange, the Cubs get right-handed Zach Davis and four young hopefuls: outfielders Owen Casey (18) and Ismael Menna (18) and shortstops Reggie Preciado (17) and Yason Santana (20).

Darvish, 34, is in the middle of a six-year, $126 million contract that he has signed with the Cubs through the 2018 season. After suffering an elbow injury this year, he began to recover in 2019, leading to a stellar campaign in 2020. His score of 2.01 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 76 innings puts him in second place behind Trevor Bauer in the National League Cy Young Award vote.

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Sources told ESPN on Sunday that Padres is also finalizing an agreement with the Tampa Bay Rays for former Cy Young winner Blake Snell.

Like Darvish, this deal was not officially announced. But once they do, two star pitchers together with Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack will form a big rotation in San Diego. Righthander Mike Clevinger is also on the team, but will miss the 2021 season after undergoing surgery on Tommy John.

For the Cubs, the Darvish case gets a new start under the leadership of the new president of the baseball world, Jed Hoyer. This provision will include a reduction in salary, as Darvish will receive $59 million over the next three seasons.

The team has already said goodbye to left fielder Kyle Schwarber, which has saved them money.

San Diego has drawn from its deep source of prospects to fill the treasuries of the Cubs, which have been emptied in recent years. These are all long-term games, full of tools and talent, but extremely risky due to age and lack of gaming experience.

Preciado, 17, could have the highest group limit since signing with Panama in 2019. The 1.6 meter tall player, who has a national record of $1.6 million, is considered by international scouts as one of the best players in his category.

Cassie, another undersized prospect, was a favorite for computer models in Project 2020 because of his age (he just turned 18), his output speed (in three digits) and his relative inexperience (he comes from Ontario, Canada). Just like Brennen Davis, the top prospect of the Cubs, Casey is a six-footed, very fast and athletic outfielder. He is the second best choice of 2020 that the Padres have traded in two days, while the third round player Cole Wilcox went to Tampa Bay as part of the Snell trade.

Santana’s potential was clear in 2019 when he hit .346/.429/.494 as the 18th prospect in the Arizona Rookie League. When he’s 20 years old, the scouts expect him to stay in the shortstop position.

Mena signed in the same class as Preciado – and for another $600,000, for $2.2 million. With its 6 feet and 90 kg it is a classic. A.J. Preller’s full of tools and, as they grow, a star. He’s exactly the kind of player the Cubs need when their core team gets closer to the Free Agency and the 2016 Cubs become a distant memory.

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