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Jon Lester has a new Cubs teammate: Yu Darvish

Rob Bradford
February 10, 2018 - 4:09 pm

Remember when Jon Lester signed with the Cubs? He was going to be the foundation for Theo Epstein's championship starting rotation (which he was). That was three years, one month and 27 days from this writing.

Now with three guaranteed years still left on Lester's contract, Epstein has jumped back into the free agent pool for some more starting pitching help, once again inking the most coveted starter in the market. This time it is Yu Darvish.

According to multiple reports, the 31-year-old righty has agreed to a six-year deal worth $126 million (with the capability of pushing the number to $150 million). Yahoo! Sports reports Darvish can opt-out after the second season. It is by far the biggest contract signed among this year's free agents, and comes in $29 million less than Lester's six-year contract signed prior to the 2015 season.

Darvish is about eight months older than Lester was when he joined the Cubs, and did miss significant time with Tommy John surgery. Here is a comparison of the two in the five seasons leading up to their free agent offseason:

Lester: 74-51, 3.54 ERA, 1,038 innings pitched. Six postseason starts, 2.57 ERA. Season leading up to free agency: 16-11, 32 starts, 219 2/3 innings pitched, 2.46 ERA.

Darvish: 56-42, 3.42 ERA, 832 1/3 innings pitched. Six postseason starts, 5.81 ERA. Season leading up to free agency: 10-12, 31 starts, 186 2/3 innings pitched, 3.86 ERA.

With the addition, the Cubs boast a rotation of Lester, Darvish, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood. The top remaining free agent starting pitchers available are Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn.

Click here for a list of this offseason's top free agents.

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