Dodgers: Los Angeles Needs Yu

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 21: Yu Darvish
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 21: Yu Darvish /

Before Sunday’s game against the Braves, there was already a case for the Dodgers needing another starting pitcher. After Kershaw left the game with back tightness, the Dodgers must get another starter.

Early Sunday morning before the Dodgers played, Fox Sports reported the Dodgers had a keen interest in Yu Darvish. Now that Kershaw has been placed on the DL and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a back issue once again, the Dodgers went from needing one more starting pitcher as insurance to needing one to fill in for Clayton Kershaw.

Taking a look at the Dodger pitchers currently in the rotation, they have all had some injury in the last year. Rich Hill only threw 110 innings last season, Alex Wood threw only 60, and both have already been on the disabled list earlier this season.

That doesn’t even account for Brandon McCarthy who pitched 40 innings in 2016 and was also placed on the disabled list Sunday due to blister issues. McCarthy has had a case of the YIPS that seemed to resurface a few weeks ago and are prone to come back at any point. Hyun-Jin Ryu has a laundry list of injuries from the past year including surgery, and Kenta Maeda was on the disabled list earlier this season with a hamstring problem.

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All those injuries made an easy case for the Dodgers to acquire another starting pitcher just in case one of the aforementioned pitchers went down again. Since Kershaw got hurt on Sunday, they desperately need a pitcher to plug into his spot and keep their depth stable in the event another injury occurs.

The perfect pitcher for the Dodgers to target is Yu Darvish. Due to him being eligible for free agency after this season, Darvish will cost fewer prospects than a pitcher like Sonny Gray would, who has multiple years of team control left.

Darvish is also a bonafide ace and a right-hander the Dodgers could place in the middle of their lefty-heavy projected playoff rotation. LA already wanted to avoid using Kershaw on short rest in the first round of the playoffs, and now that he has back problems once again, the Dodgers may have no choice but not to do so.

Acquiring Darvish would give the Dodgers dual aces that they once had with Kershaw and Greinke, and also give the Dodgers the best playoff rotation in baseball with Kershaw, Darvish, Hill, and Wood. Los Angeles would be able to close out whoever they play in the first round without going to Kershaw twice.

Yu Darvish currently pitches in a stadium that is considered a hitter’s park. This is reflected in his stats as he has a 4.35 ERA at home and a 2.49 ERA in road games. He would definitely fare well in a pitcher’s park like Dodger Stadium.

The NL West also has two of the best pitcher’s parks in San Diego and San Francisco. Given that the September schedule is mostly inter-division play, Darvish should dominate the games he starts for the Dodgers. Darvish has also not been on the disabled list this season which is something another top tier-arm like Sonny Gray cannot say.

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Against the National League this season, the right-hander has made three starts and posted a 3.10 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings. All three starts were quality starts, and he went at least six innings in each of them.

In fact, out of his 21 starts, only five of them were shorter than six innings. The Dodgers could benefit from adding another workhorse since Hill and Wood hardly ever go more than five innings, even in starts they are dominant. The injury to Kershaw only means more innings are going to have to be filled, and Yu is clearly the one that the Dodgers need.