Yu Darvish Done for Season with Stress Reaction in Elbow

By Michael Vesci
Aug. 23, 2018

After landing on the disabled list in the middle of May, Yu Darvish has been shut down for the year by the Chicago Cubs due to a stress reaction in his elbow. The right-hander was diagnosed with right triceps tendinitis back in May and attempted to make a comeback in June which ended after being diagnosed with an elbow impingement after a rehab start on June 25th. The second attempt at returning was made over the weekend, but Darvish was pulled after just one inning in his rehab start after experiencing increased pain which led to the revealing MRI. Before his injuries, Darvish was 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA in 40 innings pitched over the course of eight starts this season.

The 32-year-old signed a six-year, $126 million deal this past offseason with the Cubs. Expectations were that he would fill the void left behind by the departure Jake Arrieta in free agency, but unfortunately he is yet to fulfill those hopes. With Darvish unable to pitch the rest of this season and left-hander Mike Montgomery sidelined with shoulder inflammation, the Cubs will continue to turn to Tyler Chatwood as their number five starter for the time being. Chatwood was demoted to the bullpen earlier this month after less than stellar numbers as a starter this season. He got the start on August 18th against the Pittsburgh Pirates but got a quick hook in the third inning after walking the leadoff batter.

Luckily for the Cubs, a bright spot in the rotation has been Cole Hamels. Hamels was acquired at the trade deadline in a trade with the Texas Rangers and has been dominant since joining the team. The left-hander is 3-0 with a 0.72 ERA in four starts since the trade, allowing just three earned runs over the course of 25 innings pitched.

As for the rest of the Cubs' rotation, the story has been different. Jon Lester had a terrible July, pitching to a 6.46 ERA that month and giving up four or more runs in four of his six starts. The rocky stretch lingered into the month of August, but Lester's last two starts have shown some promise as he has allowed just one run in his last 11 2/3 innings worked. Jose Quintana has been hot and cold throughout the season and yet to find a consistent groove on the mound. His year has been marked by a few consecutive performances that are quality outings followed by one or two bad outings that leave people scratching their heads. Finally, Kyle Hendricks has been mediocre at best and similar to Quintana his performances have been up and down throughout the year.

While losing Darvish for the year hurts the Chicago Cubs rotation, it is the best long-term move for the team. Having given the starter a six-year deal worth $126 million, the Cubs likely know that would be a hard contract to trade away if they ever considered moving Darvish, and they need to think about the long-term impacts of trying to rush him back. Preserving Darvish's long-term health is the most important thing for the Cubs to get the most out of his contract as well as his best stuff in the rotation. Although it may be unfortunate now, the Cubs could find themselves reaping the rewards of this move a few years down the line.

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