With the core of a team that won an MLB-best 104 games and nearly ended a World Series drought, Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi has stressed the club would not make a significant move in free agency unless it meant adding an elite talent.
One perceived option was re-signing Yu Darvish, though it would require some creativity on the Dodgers’ part due to their desire to remain under the $197 million luxury tax threshold this season. But on Saturday, any chance at a reunion came to an end.
After months of speculation and little movement, Darvish and the Chicago Cubs agreed to terms on a six-year, $126 million contract. The right-hander can earn up to $150 million by reaching incentives throughout the lifetime of the deal.
With Darvish off the market, Jake Arrieta now resides as the unquestioned best starting pitcher who is a free agent. The pool includes second and third-tier pitchers as well, in Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn and Jake Odorizzi, among others.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, that’s where the Dodgers and other clubs are shifting their focus:
Where the pitching market now stands, per sources: Brewers, Twins, Phillies and Dodgers are targeting starters. Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn and Jake Odorizzi are likeliest to fill those gaps in some way, shape or form, though Philly could go shorter-term on a guy.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 11, 2018
Signing Arrieta would figure to be a long shot for the Dodgers in the same sense inking Darvish was also unlikely. If Arrieta were to find there is not a market for him, then perhaps Los Angeles could pounce on a bargain deal.
Cobb is someone the Dodgers were linked to last March as a trade target. The 30-year-old went 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA, 4.16 FIP and 1.22 WHIP last year, his sixth season with the Rays.
Lynn rejected the $17.4 million qualifying offer from the St. Louis Cardinals, which may also make him an unlikely candidate to sign with the Dodgers because of compensation ramifications.
Like Cobb, Odorizzi has been with the Rays and once was connected to trade talks involving the Dodgers. Odorizzi also profiles as a back-of-the rotation starter, which the team isn’t in need of.