Yu Darvish is going to the Chicago Cubs, a source confirmed, with a six-year deal worth at least $126 million after his No. 1 landing spot failed to make a competitive offer.
The same source said that the Texas Rangers, the team that brought Darvish from Japan in 2012 and traded him away July 31, were "not even close" in their pursuit of the right-hander who has made his home in Dallas and was interested in a reunion.
General manager Jon Daniels said on Friday that the Rangers could add a big-time free agent with so many still on the market, but he didn't expect that to happen. He was repeating a familiar refrain from early in the off-season.
Darvish went off the board Saturday afternoon. Daniels had no hard feelings for his former pitcher and dinner buddy.
The Cubs have yet to formally announce the deal.
"I am very happy for Yu and hope he gets everything he wants," Daniels said. "He will go down as one of the best pitchers in Rangers history. I expect he's going to be very good wherever he goes."
Darvish went 52-39 with a 3.42 ERA in 131 starts with the Rangers, who sent him to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline for Willie Calhoun and two other minor-leaguers.
The Rangers have five starters — Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Doug Fister, Matt Moore and Mike Minor — only three days before pitchers and catchers report for spring training. Even with Darvish gone, there are some other upgrades still available.
Former TCU star Jake Arrieta, who pitched for the Cubs the past five seasons, is the top remaining starting pitcher, and some with the Rangers like Arrieta more than Darvish. Fellow righties Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn and Andrew Cashner, another former TCU star, are still available.
Daniels, though, said the Rangers aren't looking at 2018 as an all-in season, but rather one where they rely on young players, internal improvements and bounce-back seasons from players they’ve acquired.