The Dodgers were in on Yu Darvish until the very end, but on Saturday he agreed to a six-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. Where do the Dodgers turn to after losing out on Darvish?
The Dodgers were in on Darvish and reportedly offered him a six-year deal per Jon Heyman, but ultimately he signed with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs gave Darvish six years, 126 million dollars with the potential to make up to 150 million dollars if Darvish wins multiple Cy Young awards. That is unlikely but not impossible for Darvish to accomplish.
While the Dodgers were in on Darvish, it begs the question of where do they turn to next? There is still big-name starting pitchers on the free-agent market like Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, and Lance Lynn, but none of those starters are on the same level as Darvish. All three starting pitchers are also on the downside of their careers.
Alex Cobb and Jake Arrieta have seen a decline in strikeouts and hits allowed per nine innings. Lance Lynn is not a bad option but he has already had one Tommy John surgery, and he is not worth losing a first round pick for. The pickings are slim as the aforementioned starting pitchers are the biggest names still out there, so the Dodgers shouldn’t sign a starting pitcher to anything other than a minor league pact.
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After losing out on Darvish, the Dodgers should go into next season with the starting rotation they currently have. It is more than good enough to win the World Series if everyone is healthy come October. After all, Kenta Maeda won over fourteen games last season, and Hyun-Jin Ryu won fourteen games in back to back seasons for the Dodgers when he first came over from Korea.
Even after Maeda and Ryu, the Dodgers have a surplus of major league ready starting pitcher talent. The biggest name is Walker Buehler, who as an electric fastball that he pairs with his hammer curveball to confuse hitters. Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart are also options to fill in should another starting pitcher go down.
If there is one position that the Dodgers can withstand multiple injuries to in the regular season, it is starting pitching. Walker Buehler, Mitchell White, and Dennis Santana are just a few talented young starters who could be called upon to make a big splash later on in the season.
The Dodgers can also take their current rotation into the regular season and make a trade at the deadline once again if a need arises. As Andrew Friedman has stated throughout his Dodger tenure, the team that starts the season is not necessarily the team that will finish the season or plays in the post-season.
Yu Darvish would have been an awesome addition to help the Dodgers get back to the World Series, but with him now a Chicago Cub, not all hope is lost. The Dodgers still have one of the top rotations in baseball and a farm system that is loaded with starting pitching talent. The Dodgers should save their free money for next year’s big free-agent class, and not waste the newly created free money on marginal upgrades.