The Los Angeles Dodgers pulled off the summer’s biggest blockbuster at the non-waiver trade deadline by acquiring Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers in exchange for a trio of prospects. The transaction was completed with an eye on October, as Los Angeles hoped the presence of Darvish would give them a clear edge in the postseason.
With the 2017 season now in the rearview mirror, Darvish reached free agency along with seven other Dodgers players and nearly 150 Major Leaguers. The right-hander is among the top starting pitchers to hit the open market this twiner.
As such, Darvish is slated for one of the largest contracts of the offseason. That should come as no surprise, as Darvish’s track record is only comparable to Chicago Cubs free agent Jake Arrieta.
Per Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball, the St. Louis Cardinals are among the teams expected to pursue the pair of aces:
The Cardinals are looking at high-end starters, including Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, but are telling people they will first investigate the trade market before committing to a big-ticket free agent.
Darvish excelled with Los Angeles to close out his regular season campaign, allowing just one run over his final 19.1 innings pitched. His hot streak carried over into Game 3 of the National League Division Series, where he yielded just one run over five innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The 31-year-old’s success then continued into the next round of postseason play against the Cubs, where he allowed just one run in 6.1 frames at Wrigley Field — propelling the Dodgers to a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.
Unfortunately for Darvish, he vastly struggled in two World Series starts against the Houston Astros. In just 3.1 innings, he was tabbed for nine runs and 11 baserunners — ultimately earning losses in Games 3 and 7.
Despite ending the season at a career low point, Darvish would represent a major upgrade for the Cardinals’ staff should they land him. In 2017, St. Louis ranked in the bottom third with a 4.01 ERA (21st) and 4.09 FIP (23rd).