When the Los Angeles Dodgers reached an agreement with the Texas Rangers to acquire Yu Darvish moments before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline expired, it was solely with an eye on the postseason. Los Angeles hoped Darvish would be the missing ingredient to the franchise’s first World Series in 1988.
The trade marked a second consecutive year the Dodgers added a starting pitcher to the fold on what potentially was merely a three-month rental. Though, Rich Hill was ultimately re-signed last winter, agreeing to a three-year, $48 million contract.
Darvish figured to command a five-year contract at a much heftier salary than what Hill received. But two poor starts in the World Series may have resulted in an adverse effect on Darvish’s market.
From the Dodgers’ standpoint, a executive not with the team left little possibility to their re-signing of Darvish, via Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball:
“No chance,” one rival exec said of the odds of a Darvish re-signing by the Dodgers.
Darvish went 4-3 with a 3.44 ERA, 3.38 FIP and 1.15 WHIP in nine starts for the Dodgers. He spent time on the 10-day disabled list due to back stiffness and worked with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt to refine his mechanics and delivery.
The right-hander found his footing as the regular season wound to a close, and he carried that into the playoffs. Darvish was stellar in the National League Division Series and Championship Series, but allowed a combined nine runs (eight earned) and pitched just 1.2 innings in both of his World Series starts.
Even without the struggles against the Houston Astros, there was some doubt as to whether the Dodgers would give serious consideration to re-signing Darvish. He’s entering his age-32 season, and the club’s front office to this point has shied away from long-term deals.
The Dodgers were willing to extend to five years for Zack Greinke, but not the six years nor record salary he received from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Jake Arrieta and Darvish reside as the top free-agent starting pitchers this winter. They both are reportedly of interest to the Minnesota Twins, among other clubs.