After meeting in and ultimately splitting the last two National League Championship Series, the growing rivalry between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers will undoubtedly reach another level of intensity in 2018.
That was already the expectation even before Yu Darvish announced his decision to leave the Dodgers behind and join the Cubs on a six-year, $126 million deal on Feb. 10. Now that the ace right-hander has changed allegiances, it should add yet another layer.
Maybe even two or three layers after Darvish publicly confirmed that as he informed Dodgers manager Dave Roberts of his decision on Saturday, he made sure to add that beating L.A. will be his primary goal in Chicago.
Darvish told Dave Roberts he was signing with the Cubs and said to him "My main goal is to beat the Dodgers."
— Josh Frydman (@Josh_Frydman) February 13, 2018
Consider the gauntlet thrown down.
Darvish, who was the Dodgers major acquisition at the 2017 trade deadline, didn’t have the best ending to his brief stay in Los Angeles. The last memory baseball fans there will have of him are his two disastrous starts that probably cost the Dodgers the World Series. Many Dodgers fans undoubtedly aren’t over that yet. Those who aren’t certainly didn’t need any fuel for their frustration with or anger towards Darvish, but they got some here.
Of course, the Cubs couldn’t be happier to add Darvish to their rotation. Team president Theo Epstein says adding Darvish was the team’s top priority this winter, which serves as both an endorsement for Darvish and an indication they weren’t keen on bringing back Jake Arrieta.
However you want to take that, the fact is Darvish is now a Cub and as a result the Cubs have further solidified their status as World Series contenders.
During his introductory press conference on Tuesday, Darvish also further solidified that he has a good sense of humor.
That was already clear based on some of his amusing tweets during his free agent process. It became even more clear when he answered this question about former Rangers teammate and now current Cubs catcher Chris Gimenez, whose signing with Chicago many believe set the stage for Darvish’s arrival.
Yu Darvish Presser:
Q: Does it help to have a catcher (Chris Gimenez) you're comfortable with here?
Yu: I like Contreras better.
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) February 13, 2018
Clearly, no one is safe from Yu Darvish’s wrath or humor when he’s this locked in.
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