If you haven’t heard by now, the Dodgers acquired Yu Darvish (along with Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani) at the deadline recently, and as you can imagine that got everybody understandably excited. Of course, you’ve already seen our takes on the moves at Dodgers Digest (1/2/3/4), so I thought it would be worthwhile to see how others are reacting as well.
Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports chronicled the 12 minutes that led to Darvish becoming a Dodger.
Reality had crashed on Daniels in the hours leading up to 4 p.m., when no market materialized for Darvish and efforts to create one came up empty. Darvish had his flaws. Teams had their hang-ups. The trade market isn’t always rational. And even though Daniels had told Darvish after his previous start that he almost certainly would be traded by July 31, the clock was ticking, the deadline approaching, the Dodgers the only team left in the sweepstakes.
Probably the most complete story about how the deal went down since it includes the Rangers perspective as well.
Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times penned a similar story, but from an intimate Dodgers perspective.
Near the back of the plane, Enrique Hernandez kept watch on his phone. When the news about Watson broke, he showed it to veteran second baseman Chase Utley, who was in front of him. Utley nodded. He nodded again when he heard about Cingrani. But when the news about Darvish appeared, Utley contorted his face in surprise — “which is a lot, for Chase,” Hernandez said.
Earlier in July, Jansen had compared Darvish to a Ferrari. Everyone, he ventured, wants to drive one. Now the luxury vehicle belonged to the Dodgers. “We got our Ferrari,” Jansen said. “Now we just have to put the right oil in, get it serviced, and there we go.”
“It doesn’t matter what we have on paper — we still have to go out and play,” third baseman Justin Turner said. “But the fact that the front office stepped up and did what they did at the deadline means that they’re as serious as we are.”
Basically everybody had the feeling that they didn’t logically need to do this, but emotionally it felt like this was the move they had to make.
Players had takes as well, like Alex Wood…
— Alex Wood (@Awood45) July 31, 2017
— Enrique Hernández (@kikehndez) July 31, 2017
…and last but not least, Justin Turner.
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times wrote about what the trade meant in terms of declarations.
This is about culture. This is about what the franchise stands for. And from that standpoint, this trade means as much as any the Dodgers have made in the last decade. This was about Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi and the other members of the front office announcing the Dodgers are ready to win — not next year, not in five years, not in 10. Now.
Though perhaps the best thing to come out of his takes on this deadline was Farhan Zaidi talking about them.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) August 1, 2017
Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times echoed that notion, heaping praise on the front office for a declaration of intent type of deal.
Is there such a thing as a walk-off trade? The Dodgers made one, adding Darvish to their loaded rotation in the final minutes before Monday’s trade deadline, hitting a two-out homer that could sail into autumn. Is it possible to celebrate one of the season’s biggest victories on a day when the team doesn’t even play? The Dodgers did just that, also adding two left-handed relievers — Pittsburgh’s Tony Watson and Cincinnati’s Tony Cingrani — to complete a pitching staff without trading any of their three most coveted prospects. Can MVP candidates be guys who don’t wear uniforms? Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi now qualify, the Dodgers executives performing with the same bold brilliance in the front office that their team has shown on the field.
Michael Baumann of The Ringer noted that the trade basically made the Dodgers a flawless team, and even if they get bounced, it won’t be for lack of trying.
But if the Dodgers don’t make it to the World Series this year, it won’t be because they left some option unexplored. Heading into August, this is as complete a baseball team as we’ve seen in the 21st century. We’ll see how much that counts for in October.
SB Nation writer, and noted Giants blogger, Grant Brisbee regrettably noted that Darvish is exactly what the Dodgers needed, mainly because it means avoiding starting Clayton Kershaw on short rest in the playoffs.
The Dodgers aren’t built on short rest anymore. Scream it to the heavens, because that’s all they really needed. They might get to the seventh game of the World Series and decide that Kershaw on three days’ rest is the best choice, or they might bumgarner him into the game in a relief capacity, but that’ll be different. That’s a team making unorthodox decisions because it might help it win. It’s not a team continually trying the same strategy over and over again because it has to work eventually.
Buster Olney of ESPN gave out deadline grades, handing out an A- to the Dodgers.
The L.A. front office stepped up and surrendered prospects to get an All-Star starting pitcher. But this grade is potentially mitigated by the concerns of evaluators about Darvish, who was awful recently. Are the Dodgers getting the great Darvish who dominates right-handed hitters? Or are the Dodgers getting the Darvish who had a 5.81 ERA in his past eight starts and seemed to be putting a lot of pressure on himself with scouts watching him the past couple of weeks? Now no player faces more pressure in the next two months than Darvish, who has been added with the expectation that he can augment the best team in baseball — and must also try to prove himself as a pending free agent. The Dodgers also added left-handers Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani.
Bill Baer of Hardball Talk named the Dodgers among the winners of the deadline.
The Dodgers gave up what seems like a lot for Yu Darvish – top prospects Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy, and Brendon Davis – but the club is clearly primed for a run at the World Series and adding Darvish only helps those chances. You may fight for a World Series in 2022, but a lot can happen between now and then.
Keith Law of ESPN gave his take on both sides of all the deals.
The Los Angeles Dodgers managed to acquire a new No. 2 starter without giving up any of their top five prospects, adding rental player Yu Darvish to help them now and in October. The Texas Rangers, meanwhile, did what they could to get more than the second-round draft pick they would have received had Darvish left as a free agent.
Perhaps most notably is that he doesn’t think the Dodgers gave up any Top 100 prospects.
Bryan Grosnick of Baseball Prospectus appears to love Darvish, and he brought up the point of this potentially being an opening for a match in free agency.
It’s not hyperbole to say that after this deal, the Dodgers are the best team in baseball. The reason it’s not hyperbole is that before this deal, the Dodgers were probably the best team in baseball. Their rotation wasn’t even a weakness, it just was a question: “Which incredibly effective pitchers will be healthy enough to throw in October.” With Darvish on board, that question doesn’t change, but the answer probably becomes something like: “We don’t know, but there sure will be a lot of them.” Having the best team on paper isn’t everything, but the Dodgers have done everything in their power to be ready for a World Series win. Darvish is the last, and perhaps best, move of the trade deadline—it just makes sense that he’d end up on the best team. Now let’s see if Darvish gets his Hollywood ending.
He notes Darvish’s history of excellence and diverse arsenal of pitches, but also mentions the declining strikeout rate and health.
Dave Cameron of FanGraphs wants to make sure people realize that the Dodgers did not swindle the Rangers.
The Dodgers did well here, picking up a difference maker without surrendering any of the guys they see as potential core pieces for them down the road. But baseball trades aren’t always zero-sum affairs, and just because this was a nice move for LA doesn’t mean the Rangers got taken advantage of here.
Andrew Simon of MLB.com looked at why the Dodgers might’ve been interested in Watson and Cingrani.
Biggest wOBA-xwOBA gap for LH RP (62 pitchers, min. 75 at-bats)
1. Cingrani: -.111 (.291-.402)
4. Watson: -.068 (.286-.354)
— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) July 31, 2017
Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs took a look at the scouting reports of Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy, and Brendon Davis. Then Chris Mitchell of FanGraphs looks at Calhoun, Alexy, and Davis from a statistical projection standpoint.
Some guy who sits on a throne in New York named Mike Petriello wrote about Darvish for MLB.com, looking at his velocity, pitch selection, and spin rate.
Darvish’s velocity is just fine, important to note given that he missed all of 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. If anything it’s up, from 92.4 mph in 2014 before he was hurt to 93.3 mph last year and 94.1 mph this year. Plus, there was potentially an easily fixable reason for the Marlins debacle, since Darvish was reportedly tipping his pitches, especially his fastball. And in the start immediately before the Miami game, he struck out 12 Rays. What’s especially interesting about the Tampa Bay game is how it happened. Famous for his wide assortment of pitches, Darvish threw 56 four-seam fastballs against the Rays, the third-highest frequency of his career, and according to the since-traded Jonathan Lucroy, that was no accident.
Four-seam spin leaders among starting pitchers in 2017
2,536 rpm — Justin Verlander
2,512 rpm — Darvish
2,506 rpm — Sonny Gray
2,504 rpm — Tyler Chatwood
2,497 rpm — Max Scherzer
One day this guy could write at Dodgers Digest.