The San Diego Padres and pitcher Yu Darvish are in agreement over a long-term contract.
It’s a six-year, $108 million pact for a talented hurler who just had a 3.10 ERA season over 194.2 innings.
It’s market value for a pitcher of his talent, but there is a situation with Darvish: he will be 37 in August.
It’s not common to see a six-year deal being given to a pitcher of that age.
In reality, it’s not as potentially problematic as people think.
First, Darvish remains elite.
Second, he is continually learning, adjusting, and honing his craft.
He has a desire to learn and get better.
And third, the deal is front-loaded: he will receive more money at the start of it than at the end.
“Yu Darvish’s extension with the Padres is front-loaded, per source, beginning with a $30 million salary in 2023,” MLB insider Mark Feinsand tweeted.
Yu Darvish's extension with the Padres is front-loaded, per source, beginning with a $30 million salary in 2023.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) February 9, 2023
His average annual value (AAV) stands at $18 million.
That’s not a prohibitive number at all.
With inflation, that $18 million AAV will be much, much easier to manage in the final years of his career, when the decline phase is on.
Yes, the Padres are aware of the risk resulting of signing a 37-year-old to a six-year deal.
Darvish is not just any 37-year-old, though.
He has a long track record of success, with a career 3.50 ERA, and he has remained relatively steady for four years running.
The Padres have shown they are willing to make some sacrifices in order to keep their core together for as long as they can, and this one certainly qualifies.
The reward, however, could be substantial.NEXT: 2 Padres With The Most To Prove In 2023