The Chicago Cubs haven’t signed Yu Darvish just yet, but they did the next best thing. They signed the player that some believe will result in them finally landing Darvish!
The team agreed to a minor-league deal with 35-year-old catcher Chris Gimenez. If he makes the team, he would be the primary backup to Willson Contreras.
We know what you’re thinking. Yawn, right? It’s just a minor-league deal for a guy who hit .220/.350/.382 last season. Who cares?
Well, many were quick to point out Gimenez has a strong history with Darvish.
In 2014, Chris Gimenez made 26 starts at Catcher for the Rangers.
Yu Darvish was the starting pitcher in 12 of the 26 games.
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) January 23, 2018
— M@ (@MattSpiegel670) January 23, 2018
— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) January 23, 2018
We can distill those tweets into two main points:
• Gimenez was Darvish’s personal catcher when both players were with the Texas Rangers.
• Gimenez has kept in touch with Darvish, and had been recruiting him to play for the Minnesota Twins, which is where Gimenez played in 2017.
With Gimenez now a member of the Cubs, you would expect that recruiting pitch to change. And it’s not a tough one to make. The Cubs are young and talented, and already have World Series experience. They are a great landing spot for Darvish.
It’s been that way since the start of the offseason, though, and Darvish still remains unsigned. He’s out there for the taking if a team is willing to offer the right amount. It could be the Cubs. It could be the Milwaukee Brewers. It could be the New York Yankees. Or it could be some other team we haven’t heard about yet.
Does signing Darvish’s former personal catcher make it more likely that Darvish signs with the Cubs? We have no idea. It’s one of those things that you can’t fully rule out, but you also don’t want to put much weight toward.
Darvish will sign with the team that pays him and has the best future. Based on those two things, the Cubs have been a favorite for him all offseason. It would be a surprise if this was finally the thing that made Darvish’s decision, but it can’t hurt, right?
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik