It’s hard to believe that we’re already in the middle of January. It seems like just the other day Rangers fans were watching the hated Houston Astros celebrate their first ever World Series title at the expense of Yu Darvish and the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s even harder to believe that pitchers and catchers will begin to report to spring training in just about a month. The hardest thing to believe is that so many quality players are still left on the free agent market this far into the offseason!
Darvish, along with the other top starting pitcher options Jake Arietta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, surely didn’t see free agency playing out like this. Usually starting pitchers have trucks of money backed up to them at their first request if a team really wants them, but something about the uncertainty of Darvish and Arietta’s true value is pretty much holding up the entire free agency marketplace.
So while nobody really expected Texas to be true contenders to bring Yu Darvish back at the beginning of the offseason, Mr. Darvish himself has done a lot to give some Rangers fans, especially me, the perception that he actually does want to be back here. The evidence is all over Darvish’s Twitter feed. Here’s a breakdown of the evidence.
We doing well Emily. How is your family doing?
If I sign with the Rangers, I'll do it next spring training.
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) December 7, 2017
The first example is this from back in early December. The great Emily Jones of Fox Sports Southwest gets Yu to bite on a Twitter exchange and he goes as far as saying “If I sign with the Rangers.” May not seem like a lot, but IT SEEMS LIKE A LOT. Not a lot of guys would even acknowledge the possibility of signing with a team publicly while they’re still available. But wait! There’s more…
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) December 15, 2017
Nine days later Yu playfully tags Dallas Morning News Rangers beat reporter Evan Grant in a tweet. Again openly communicating with the DFW local media. Has he tweeted to any of the media members in Los Angeles? … he might have, I just haven’t seen it.
I went to dinner with my friend John last night. pic.twitter.com/8KTq3R2Toj
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) December 21, 2017
The dinner between Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was reportedly just a “meal between friends” and had no discussions about a potential deal between Darvish and the Rangers. I’ll call B.S. on that. Sure, maybe a lot of the conversation was just about how the pair’s families have been doing and blah, blah, blah, but everyone knows they talked about the possibility of a contract.
How many other GM’s has Yu taken pictures with this winter? Did you say none? That is correct!
I know one more team is in. https://t.co/exxubGP7Qo
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) January 11, 2018
This was Darvish confirming a report this week that he had narrowed his potential landing spots down to the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs and back with the Rangers. The supposed mystery team is thought to be the Dodgers.
Sorry guys. My mistake.
Actually they did make offer but the numbers are not correct. https://t.co/0mIvMlZTPJ
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) January 12, 2018
Here Yu was going back and forth with fans of the Yankees, surprise there: Yankees fans being obnoxious. One fan asked him to accept the Yankees offer and he initially responded saying they hadn’t given him an offer. Then changes it to the tweet above where he says the Yankees offer wasn’t good enough. So if the Yankees aren’t forking up enough money yet, then who will?
One would have to think it will be Darvish who has to blink and sign for slightly less years/money than he thought he’d get coming into this offseason. Teams are spending wisely this offseason and trading for quality starting pitching has proven to be more fruitful for contending teams in recent years.
The Rangers probably have their rotation ready with the likes of Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Matt Moore, Doug Fister and possibly Mike Minor. The problem with that rotation is that four out of five are left handed and you just need a little more balance than that. Adding a quality right handed starter for the top of the rotation like Darvish or even Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn would be a good move for the club. Perez could be used as insurance in case of injury or maybe manager Jeff Banister and his staff even go to a six man rotation?
If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t put my money on Darvish coming back to the Rangers since the team likely won’t be willing to spend what it takes to get him. What is clear to me is that Darvish would love to be back here, but probably not enough to pass on millions of dollars and another year or two of job security, though.
Who knows? It’s already the middle of January, so he’ll have to make a decision soon. Once he does, there is likely a domino-effect for all remaining major free agents. The MLB hot stove has been pretty lukewarm all winter, but it’s almost time for it to get piping hot before the season begins.
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