Dodgers: 3 Creative Options for Right-Handed Starting Pitching
By Sunit Bhakta
Yu Darvish- Texas Rangers
Admittedly, this is probably a pipe-dream, but it would signal an “all-in” mentality by the front office, and be the big blockbuster many fans have been clamoring for. Yu Darvish is tied with Evan Longoria as my favorite non-Dodger and is one of my four favorite players in general.
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In his 11 games this season, Darvish has a 2.97 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and a 9.3 K/9. In his 111 starts in the majors, the 30-year-old has a 3.26 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and an absurd 11.1 K/9. Darvish is in the conversation of having the nastiest stuff in the game and, when he’s on his game, he’s one of the most dominant arms in the league.
In my opinion, when he has everything working, only Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw, and Max Scherzer can compare in the combination of dominance, swing-and-miss ability, and entertainment value. Back in 2013, he had 277 strikeouts in just 209.2 innings (11.9 K/), striking out an elite 33% of batters faced, and that shows the type of filth he can throw.
He’d give LA a legitimate second ace and another much-needed innings-eater. A duo of Kershaw and Darvish would bring back memories of the Kershaw-Greinke days. The Dodgers would once again have the best pitching duo in the league, and if Alex Wood can pitch close to anything like how he did in the month of May, then that trio would have an argument for being the scariest one around.
Health is a big red flag with the Japanese pitcher, as he had his 2014 season cut short due to Tommy John surgery, causing him to miss all of 2015, and see limited time in 2016. But he seems healthy now and is a gamble worth taking a risk on. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see the dynamic between him and his fellow countryman Kenta Maeda?
One thing to consider is that Darvish is a free agent after this season so he’d only be a rental. Still, if renting a dominant closer cost the Cubs their best prospect last year, Darvish would require a package built around one of the Dodgers’ top prospects with the risk of losing him at the year’s end.
The Dodgers have a surplus of talent in the majors and minors, so turning some of that into Yu Darvish would make sense for a team that has World Series aspirations. But, if the front office isn’t comfortable with resigning a 30-year-old pitcher, who had Tommy John just over two years ago, to a big money contract, letting go of top value doesn’t make much sense.
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Still, I do not believe that he would cost as much as Cole. Use the David Price-to-Toronto deal as a good barometer, but even then, Darvish should not be as expensive as Price was. Ultimately it depends on how the pitching market shapes up and whether the Texas Rangers choose to sell off. They have no shot at the AL West title, and the AL Wild Card race has the makings of a loaded one.