Dodgers Should let Yu Darvish Walk in Free Agency

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 28: Yu Darvish
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 28: Yu Darvish /

Yu Darvish headlines the Dodgers free agents this offseason. He’s the arguably the most coveted starting pitcher on the market and is set to have a big payday. Despite the Dodgers trading for Darvish at the trade deadline, they should let Darvish walk away after half a season with the team.

Darvish did not perform as LA expected. When the news of the Darvish trade broke, the city of LA was already proclaiming the Dodgers World Champions. While they were close, the team didn’t exactly have that Hollywood magic we all had hoped.

Darvish started 13 games for the Dodgers this season, 9 in the regular seasons and 4 in the postseason. His cumulative numbers in those starts were a 6-5 record in 64 13 innings with a 4.06 ERA. Darvish allowed 29 earned runs (11 home runs), while only producing a quality start in 5 of his 13 starts. Darvish had some dominant performances, but he was far from the 1B of the staff the Dodgers hoped he’d be. Unfortunately, that’s the style of pitcher Darvish is.

He could be a dominant pitcher that strikes out 200 hitters in a season, but never in his career has ended the season with an ERA lower than 2.50. Darvish has a career ERA of 3.42 and a FIP of 3.69. When you combine that with his 57% winning percentage at (56-42), you don’t truly get the consistent production you’d want out of your number two starter, especially when you consider the contract he could receive. has Yu Darvish as the top projected free agent this offseason. They predict his contract could be 6-years for $160 million ($26+M/yr). That’s committing $160M to a 31-year old pitcher that has pitched over 2,100 career innings when dating back to his pitching days in Japan. Darvish began pitching in Japan when he was 18 years-old and threw over 1,200 innings overseas.

Suddenly it’s not so wise to offer a pitcher over 30-years old a 6-year deal let alone $160 million. If the Dodgers signed Darvish to that contract, they would tie up $59 million of their payroll per year to their first two starters, and Kershaw is 29.

Darvish has owned up to his performance in the postseason and has been very vocal about wanting to return to play for the Dodgers.

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He said after game 7 to LA Times Reporter, Dylan Hernandez that the Dodger rekindled his passion towards baseball:

"“They gave me a lot, [Darvish] said in Japanese. “I’ve had some painful ones in the past. To be honest, since coming to the major leagues, my passion toward baseball had started to decrease. I was really concerned about that, especially in the last three years.” They gave me goals. They gave me the goal of not wanting to lose until the end. Then my goal became to perform well in the World Series."

I can’t honestly say how Darvish feels after his performance in the World Series. But I can say that Darvish has no reason to be apologetic to Dodger fans. As he said himself, everyone has bad starts, and for him, it happened to come in a moment where everyone was watching.

I respect that Darvish would like to return to the Dodgers organizations. Why wouldn’t he? They have some of the best young talents in the game. The city of LA is extremely diverse. And he has a chance to compete for a title for the next six to ten years.

My opinion on why the Dodgers should not sign him is not based on performance. It’s based on price. There’s a huge free agency class coming in the 2018-2019 offseason with plenty of promising pitchers.

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Re-signing Darvish would no doubt improve this club for the 2018 season. Unless Darvish is willing to take fewer years and drop his price tag the Dodgers should let him walk. This team is going to continue to improve as they gain more experience. Save the cap space this offseason and splurge on the options next offseason.