There’s a chance that Yu Darvish returns to the Lone Star State after all. However, there’s a catch.
It might not be with the Rangers.
Darvish packed his bags and left Arlington for Hollywood minutes before last season’s trade deadline. The Rangers made the move, sending him to the Los Angeles Dodgers for prospects. Then the Dodgers punched their ticket to the World Series. Darvish faced off against a team he was familiar with during his days in a Rangers uniform, the Houston Astros.
The results were positive if you were an Astros fan. Their lineup tee’d off on Darvish in his two World Series starts, including the deciding Game 7. The 31-year old is now a free agent and the Dodgers don’t appear to be interested in bringing him back.
It’s the offseason. Things are about to get interesting.
The team that lit him up in the World Series is now planning on meeting with the righty. The extent of the interest from the Astros is unknown but there’s apparently enough for the two sides to sit down and talk. Keep in mind, Nolan Ryan is with the Astros front office now. He was the Rangers CEO when they signed Darvish prior to the 2012 season.
However, a reunion in Arlington isn’t exactly off the table either. General manager Jon Daniels has reportedly kept an open dialogue with Darvish, who still lives in Dallas. Plus, the ante may have been raised with the recent injury to Martin Perez.
The Chicago Cubs have already met and made their sales pitch to Darvish. The Minnesota Twins are also in the running. Thad Levine, the Twins general manager, was with the Rangers front office when Darvish came on board from Japan. The Rangers are said to be “monitoring” these situations.
Before the postseason, teams were looking at shelling out somewhere around six-years, $160 million for the righty. Those numbers might have come down after the World Series showing. It also remains to be seen how much payroll capacity the Rangers have. They are aiming for the 2018 payroll to come in around the $155 million mark. Signing Darvish could take them well over that point.
There are conflicting reports on if or when the Rangers meet up with their former ace. Jim Bowden of the MLB Network on SiriusXM says a team source told him that Texas will talk with Darvish after the Astros do. However, Daniels said there was no meeting planned at this point.
The Astros aren’t exactly in need of a rotation upgrade with Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Charlie Morton and Brad Peacock. Although teaming Darvish with Verlander and Keuchel does seem strong as they embark on a repeat. Houston also has some upper-level prospects that could soon become rotation worthy. The Astros look like they are going to be a force for a while.
Another team that has been sneaky quiet but could still enter the picture the Seattle Mariners. They have been thought to make a run at a big-time pitcher after losing out on Shohei Ohtani.
So the pursuit of Yu Darvish continues on with both teams in Texas reportedly in the hunt. Where he goes, nobody knows at this point.
That’s the way baseball go.