While the Los Angeles Dodgers were comfortably ahead in the standings and resided as one of the best teams in baseball at last season’s non-waiver trade deadline, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman still seized an opportunity.
Minutes before the deadline passed, the Dodgers agreed to a trade with the Texas Rangers, adding Yu Darvish to an already-talented roster. Darvish gave Los Angeles a right-handed complement to Clayton Kershaw not seen since Zack Greinke signed a record contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The trade was very much completed with an eye on October, not the final two months of the regular season. Darvish validated that with stellar performances in the National League Division Series and Championship Series.
But he imploded in two starts against the Houston Astros in the World Series, and now has been a victim of an unusually slow offseason.
During an appearance on ESPN’s SportsNation, Justin Turner explained why Darvish can’t be blamed for the Dodgers losing the World Series:
“I feel bad for Yu. He had a great season, we acquired him, he came over and did big things for us. Really, he had two bad games in the World Series, and a lot of people are pointing the finger at him but the reality is we had plenty of chances to win a lot of those games. It just didn’t go our way.
“We had such a good group of guys, there’s no doubt everyone is going out there and selling out, laying it all on the line. He’s not going out there, trying to embarrass himself and give up runs. He wants to get outs, too, and he had a chance to go one way or the other, really. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. There’s nothing you can do. We had opportunities to score runs and get back in that game. We didn’t pick him up offensively. There’s no way you can point the finger at him and say one guy cost us the World Series. We had plenty of chances to win.”
When asked about his preference for the Dodgers to re-sign Darvish, on a scale of 1-10, Turner didn’t leave any doubt over a desired reunion:
“A 10. He’s an unbelievable pitcher. He went out against Arizona in the first round and absolutely dominated them. Pitched against the Cubs, dominated them. He’s a big part of the reason why we got to the World Series. To point him out and say we don’t want him back, we might not have been there if it wasn’t for him.”
Darvish has received reported interest from the Chicago Cubs, Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, among others. In the immediate aftermath of the World Series he expressed a desire to remain with Los Angeles.
The Dodgers are said to have met with Darvish last week, and previously expressed interest in re-signing the 31-year-old, though there are obstacles. The Dodgers are looking to remain below the luxury tax threshold this season, which would require some creativity in re-signing Darvish.