Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, one of the top names being thrown around before Monday’s trade deadline, pitched in what could have been his final start for Texas last night. Unfortunately, Darvish’s potential send-off—and a chance to convince good teams he’s worth a high price—ended up being his worst-ever career outing.
The Miami Marlins rocked Darvish for 10 runs in just 3.2 innings, the first time Darvish has allowed more than seven in his MLB career. He gave up two homers within the first three batters, then completely lost his touch in the fourth, an inning in which Miami scored nine total runs. After Darvish left, the game continued to get uglier and weirder, with the Marlins winning 22-10 and Adrian Beltre picking up a bizarre late ejection.
Darvish’s loss is troubling for any team looking to acquire him. After posting an ERA of 3.11 through the first three months of the season, his ERA is 7.20 in July, with his two worst starts of the year coming in this month. He remains a very good strikeout pitcher, with numbers that surpass those of the recently dealt José Quintana, but he’s still in the second-tier of American League starters, with these consistency issues threatening to pull him down further. Suddenly, trading for Yu looks like a much riskier proposition.
Whether Darvish actually will leave Texas, though, isn’t exactly a foregone conclusion. There’s reportedly a list of 10 teams that Darvish won’t be traded to, and even talks with leading-destination Los Angeles don’t yet feel particularly concrete. That said, Darvish is a free agent at the end of the season, and as the Rangers slowly slide to the edge of contention, Darvish might be worth more to the team if they send him elsewhere. He is one of, if not the top pitcher clearly on the trade market, and as long as the Rangers don’t suddenly decide to switch back into playoff-chase mode, he’ll still find a welcoming new home somewhere.