The news comes hours after a source told our own MLB Insider Chris Cotillo that free-agent catcher Chris Gimenez signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs. Gimenez used to catch for Darvish regularly while the two played for the Rangers.
The report also comes a day after one of the Cubs’ NL Central rivals, the Brewers, made an offer to Darvish. Other than the Brewers, the Twins, Rangers and Dodgers still reportedly have interest in the 31-year-old Japanese pitcher.
The Cubs have been looking for a frontline starter both via free agency and trade after former ace Jake Arrieta decided to explore free agency as well. The Cubs even had their top officials, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and executive vice president/general manager Jed Hoyer, meet with Darvish in December in Dallas to talk about bringing him to the Windy City.
Landing Darvish would be a huge get for a Cubs team that has made the NLCS in each of the last three seasons and is looking to win its second World Series title in three seasons. Last year, Darvish posted a 10-12 record with a 3.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 209 strikeouts over the course of 186 2⁄3 innings between the Rangers and the Dodgers.
After being acquired at the non-waiver deadline by the Dodgers, Darvish helped the club get to the World Series by winning games in both the NLDS and NLCS. However, he had two rough starts in the Fall Classic, including Game 7 where they lost to the Astros by a 5-1 count.