There are plenty of indications that suggest the Los Angeles Dodgers will trade for a starting pitcher prior to the 1 p.m. PT deadline on July 31. A report Thursday indicated the Dodgers were growing confident in their ability to acquire one of Yu Darvish, Sonny Gray or Justin Verlander.
While each is a right-handed pitcher, the trio presents the Dodgers with a different set of circumstances both this season and beyond. Gray and Verlander are under team control for multiple years, though Gray is younger and on a much more team-friendly contract.
Although Darvish is eligible for free agency this winter, he is the best talent of the three. Even at the risk of potentially acquiring a three-month rental, the Dodgers’ recent trade talks have focused more so on Darvish than Gray or Verlander, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 27, 2017
Darvish struggled in what may have been his final start with the Texas Rangers this season. He allowed a career-worst 10 runs to the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, failing to make it out of the fourth inning. It was the first time in his career allowing more than seven runs in a start.
The performance ballooned Darvish’s ERA to 7.20 in his last five starts. Included in that are two starts this month with a minimum of seven runs allowed. Darvish had only three such starts in his career before this stretch.
Overall this season, he’s 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. The four-time All-Star ranks fifth in the Majors with 137 innings pitched, eighth with 148 strikeouts and 18th with a 2.4 WAR (FanGraphs).
The Rangers were reported as having a desire to acquire two of Yadier Alvarez, Walker Buehler, Willie Calhoun and Alex Verdugo in a potential trade with the Dodgers. Alvarez was scratched from a scheduled start with Double-A Tulsa.
Los Angeles to this point has appeared unwilling to include Buehler or Verdugo in any trade talks.