Yu Darvish’s worst career start sure sounds like it’ll be his last-ever start in a Rangers uniform. Multiple reports have Texas, struggling since the All-Star break, ready, willing, and able to move Darvish to a contender by Monday’s trade deadline.
According to MLB.com, the Rangers have told other teams that they plan to trade Darvish. And, “they are confident they will get a quality return, and [are] actively exchanging names with teams.” This is a normal and obvious negotiating tactic, a message to interested teams that if they want Darvish, they’ll not only have to make it worth the Rangers’ while, they’ll have to offer a better package than other teams. Get those final bids in, basically.
But it’s not going to be so simple. Darvish, a free agent after this season, has 10 teams on his no-trade list.
I see three teams on that list—the Red Sox, Cubs, and Indians—who are almost certainly playoff-bound and might want a frontline starter to try to put them over the top, and Darvish could block a trade to any of them. The Dodgers and Yankees, both in the market for starters, have other potential trade options, including Justin Verlander and Sonny Gray. So while the Rangers hope the teams will be trying to outbid each other, there’s a chance Texas will functionally have to compete with Detroit and Oakland to get a deal done instead of lose Darvish for nothing.
(Not quite nothing. They can give Darvish a qualifying offer this winter, which he’d reject, and they’d receive a pick somewhere in the 70s.)
Darvish is a fine pitcher that any team with championship aspirations would love to plug into its rotation, but he’s struggled over the last month, putting up a 7.20 ERA in his last five starts. He’s also going to be a rental. His return may not end up being nearly as high as Texas would like, but they’re making it loud and clear they do indeed have a price.