Dodgers appear to be prioritizing Rangers’ RHP Yu Darvish in trade talks

(Via)

Despite a horrific outing in Texas last night against the Marlins (3 2/3 IP, 10 R), Yu Darvish still appears atop the Dodgers’ wishlist before Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline. As well he should be.

From Jon Heyman at FanRag Sports:

“As baseball’s best team, they can afford to be picky. Which explains why they seem focused, maybe even fixated, on Yu Darvish. Not that anyone didn’t know how much they like Darvish, but manager Dave Roberts made it clear when he announced, “I think anyone would want Yu Darvish.” The Dodgers’ feeling, even before Clayton Kershaw went down with a recurrence of back trouble, was that there was no reason they needed to trade for depth, and that high quality was all they sought. And now that Kershaw is out (the hope is that it’ll be only four to six weeks, but backs are tricky, and last year it was twice that long), they presumably want Darvish even more.”

From Joel Sherman of the New York Post:

“That is why the Dodgers have been circling Zach Britton and especially Yu Darivsh. They had seen Darvish as having the best stuff of any starter on the market. But the trade rumors might be getting to Darvish, who is known to not want to leave the Rangers. The Marlins blasted him for 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings Wednesday, and in five July starts the righty has a 7.20 ERA and an .871 OPS against.”

And the following tweets from MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi continue the trend:

All of that makes sense. Darvish has long since made sense for the Dodgers. If they aren’t going to pay the price to get Sonny Gray — who appears to be their fallback option to Darvish — then Darvish is probably the best option. In the end, it seems it’ll be Darvish, Gray and a distant third in Justin Verlander in terms of upgrading the rotation before the trade deadline.

In possibly related news, Yadier Alvarez was scheduled to start tomorrow for Double-A Tulsa. He is no longer scheduled to start. Odds are it’s related to some kind of trade discussion, but that’s mostly speculation based on logic.

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I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this article about Darvish from Dave Cameron at FanGraphs earlier today:

“In July, batters are hitting .288/.331/.540 against him. The .363 wOBA he’s allowed is his second-highest monthly total in his career, behind only July of 2014 (.379 wOBA allowed), which proceeded him being shut down for the rest of that season, and then he was diagnosed with a torn UCL before the 2015 season began. It’s fair to say that a healthy Darvish has never had as bad a month as he’s having right now, at least from a results perspective. So Darvish’s stock has to be down at least a little bit. We’ve already seen prices for rentals down significantly this year, and the Rangers were already unlikely to land a monster return due to Darvish’s impending free agency. The fact that he’s struggled leading up to the deadline probably makes it even less likely that a team will overpay, especially with the best teams all having comfortable division leads. So while the Rangers were probably hoping to have to make a tough decision between keeping their dominating ace or taking a really good offer stocked with high-ceiling youngsters, they may now be deciding between keeping their struggling ace or taking whatever the best offer is on the table. There are pros and cons to each side, and I’m guessing it’s not a clear cut decision for anyone in the Texas front office. If they are concerned that his recent slide is indicative of some real issues, then they are almost certainly better off moving him for whatever they can get now.”

Still, it’s not the largest of sample sizes for a veteran starter like Darvish. In his start before the Wednesday one against the Marlins, he went eight innings and struck out 12 Tampa Bay hitters (also allowed three home runs). So, it’s not all bad.

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The Rangers’ ask is said to be two of the Dodgers’ Top 4 prospects — Alvarez, Walker Buehler, Willie Calhoun, Alex Verdugo — but we all know it won’t take that. The Dodgers aren’t moving Buehler or Verdugo in a deal just for Darvish (not even straight-up), and it probably won’t take more than one of Alvarez or Calhoun and a couple lottery tickets to get something done. Alvarez has the higher upside, but Calhoun has the higher floor. If a deal gets consummated, we’ll see who Rangers’ general manager Jon Daniels prefers when moving his rental ace.

I examined the potential cost for Darvish last week on this very weblog, while Chad said the Dodgers should try to make a deal like the ones I mentioned.

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Lastly, the Dodgers have plenty of executives in the front office capable of negotiating trades. Just because they may get something done over here with the Rangers and Darvish doesn’t preclude them from getting something done with A.J. Preller for Brad Hand or Al Avila for Justin Wilson or another GM and any other relievers. We’ll know for sure in less than 94 hours.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He does contracts and depth charts for FanGraphs and is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a one-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, California, and has yet to be shot.