The starting pitching free-agent market has been relatively slow moving this offseason, as the top two starters out there, Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, are both still unsigned with just over a month remaining until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.
Because teams are waiting to see where those two sign and for how much, the second tier of starters, headlined by Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn, also have not drawn much buzz this offseason.
Darvish could be the first to come off the board, as he has drawn interest from a number of teams including the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers.
The Twins have been the team pursuing him the hardest, and they are not hiding that they are interested in signing the four-time All-Star.
Darvish has met with a few teams already, but the Twins were not one of them. While they are hopeful that they can secure a meeting with him, because of their general manager Thad Levine’s history with Darvish in Texas, they may not feel that it is necessary, via Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball:
twins remain interested & in contact with top pitching target yu darvish but with the familiarity gm thad levine has with darvish from days together in texas (levine was also a key person in the texas recruiting process) they don't see a meeting as a necessity — not yet anyway.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 4, 2018
For the Dodgers or the Yankees to get involved in the Darvish sweepstakes it may take his price tag coming down, as both teams have expressed desire to remain below the luxury tax threshold in 2018.
The Twins only have around $90 million locked up in 2018 and $60 million on the books for 2019, including their projected salary arbitration settlements. So they may be able to offer Darvish the multi-year, nine-figure contract that he is looking for.