Dodgers acquire Yu Darvish from Rangers for Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy, Brendon Davis

(Via)

In literally the last minute, the Dodgers acquired Rangers’ ace Yu Darvish on Monday afternoon. The agreement was first reported by Ken Rosenthal about 13 minutes after the official 1 p.m. deadline, but we at Dodgers Digest had an inkling something might’ve been happening.

The Dodgers sent second baseman/left fielder Willie Calhoun, right-handed pitching prospect A.J. Alexy, and infielder Brendon Davis to the Rangers for Darvish. An appropriate price to pay.

Yep.

The Dodgers, unable to bolster the bullpen beyond the likes of Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani, pulled the trigger on the best pitcher available this trade deadline for a second consecutive season.

I looked at Darvish as a target a couple weeks ago.

“He owns a career 3.32 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 29.6 K% and a 20.4 K-BB%. This season would qualify as his “worst” to date, but he still has a 3.45 ERA and 3.73 FIP in the American League, and he has also been worth 2.5 wins and is on his way to 4-win season.”

“Darvish isn’t better than Alex Wood has been this season, but he’d be a clear upgrade over McCarthy and might be a more consistent/reliable option than Rich Hill. Furthermore, if Darvish were to get traded to the NL, his home run rate should drop a bit — juiced ball or no. And the fact he averages 6.2 innings per start would be welcome news to the Dodgers’ bullpen.”

Darvish has been a front-end rotation option and should get a bump moving from the American League and one of the worst pitchers’ parks in the game to the National League and a more neutral park in Dodger Stadium.

The biggest reason for this trade, aside from not being able to land Zach Britton or Brad Hand, is to ensure Clayton Kershaw doesn’t have to throw on short rest in any non-World Series/WS-berth-clinching games. This gives the Dodgers a formidable Top 4 of Kershaw, Darvish, Alex Wood and Rich Hill. Couple that with an already strong bullpen and you have a prime pitching staff for the season’s last month.

When it came to the price the Dodgers had to pay, it was basically what we wrote about last Thursday.

“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.”

Calhoun is the big prize for the Rangers, as he’s basically MLB-ready, but there are defensive question marks about him. Still, he figures to hit a ton and he’s a worthwhile gamble for the Rangers.

Alexy was the Dodgers’ 11th-round pick last year and has been fantastic in Low-A, but it’s still just Low-A without premium stuff. He has potential to become a rotation arm if he continues to tick up in velocity, though.

The most intriguing piece of this deal is Davis, who was the Dodgers’ 5th-round pick in 2015, and the Dodgers gave him nearly a million bucks to sign. He began the 2017 season repeating Low-A and was recently promoted to High-A. He’s tall, lanky, projectable and showed better plate discipline and power in his second full season.

All said and done, this was an ideal price to pay for three months of Darvish. They didn’t give up nothing, but they didn’t give up the premium prospects everyone speculated would need to be involved. Calhoun is the only guy traded today (in all three trades) who was in my Top 10 in the midseason prospect rankings update. Davis and Alexy were No. 19 and 20, respectively. Still, it was a decent return from the Rangers considering their situation.

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It was tense for a time today, but the Dodgers did quite well for themselves in landing Darvish for the stretch run.

Can we start the playoffs already?

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.