There is less than a month before pitchers and catchers put on the Rangers uniform and report for spring training to Surprise, Arizona. No doubt, there are plenty of questions surrounding the team going into the season.
One question currently on the table- is Yu Darvish returning to Arlington?
It didn’t seem likely a few months ago when the righty was pitching in the World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers but here we are. The 31-year old is a free agent and still on the market. He didn’t exactly rule out a return to the mound to The Globe when he was traded at last year’s trade deadline.
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Money talks but will the price be right for the Rangers?
Most teams around the league seem to be looking to trim payroll rather than increase it, which may explain why many consider the offseason boring this time around. Darvish might be looking for something in the six-year, $160-million dollar range. The thought process of possible back-loaded contracts apparently doesn’t seem to be high on the priority list for teams such as the Rangers.
However, that’s not ruling out a reunion between the organization and its former ace. Darvish still lives in North Texas and is apparently working out at Highland Park.
One team that is considered the front-runner for Darvish is the “evil empire” themselves, the New York Yankees. However, the whole payroll thing is an issue, even with the Bronx Bombers. The Yankees have no plans to blow past the luxury-tax threshold this year and are shopping outfielder Jacob Ellsbury and his heavy contract. If they find someone willing to take it, that might free up some space to put Darvish in the famous pinstripes.
The Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs are also in the mix. Twins general manager Thad Levine was with Texas when Darvish arrived in the Lone Star State in 2012. The familiarity could play a part in maybe a move to the Twin Cities.
Of course, the asking price could come down and things get really interesting after that. The Rangers likely won’t offer anything more than four years and the price tag of $25 million a year just isn’t happening. The team has also made moves in the offseason to fill out the pitching staff but they did lose lefty Martin Perez for the start of the season due to elbow surgery on his non-throwing arm after a farming mishap. That could open a door or two.
Another twist to this, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has maintained a good relationship with Darvish and both sides even got together for dinner recently. Crazier things have happened.
The hot stove could still be heating up even with spring training right around the corner. File this under the “to be continued” category.