Stunner: Dodgers Steal Darvish at Finish Line

It took me some time to process before writing this, but Yu Darvish is no longer a Texas Ranger.

With approximately 20 minutes remaining before the deadlines, Jeff Passan tweeted out that Darvish would be staying put, along with Baltimore’s Zach Britton.

Ken Rosenthal, in Ken Rosenthal fashion, broke the internet with these tweets shortly after 4:00 EST.

At that moment, a seemingly sluggish deadline exploded into a raging inferno. The Los Angeles Dodgers had seemingly swooped down at the last minute to secure the rotation help that they so desperately needed with Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list.

Little did we know, however, that the Dodgers would not only swoop in for the last-minute get, but that it would become an absolute steal.

That’s right, folks. Somehow, the Dodgers managed to obtain the market’s top starting pitcher without surrendering any of Walker Buehler, Yadier Alvarez, or Alex Verdugo. Astonishing, isn’t it?

Regardless of the return, this is monumental for the Dodgers. With moments to go before the deadline, they seemingly settled with the acquisitions of relievers Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson. Now, they have made it crystal clear that they are all in on the postseason this October.

Darvish joins a seemingly super rotation consisting of Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, and the duo of Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy. This, coupled with the acquisitions of Watson and Cingrani, appear to further establish the Dodgers as the favorite in the National League. They solidified the front end of their rotation, while also shoring up their bullpen. Again, it’s staggering to imagine how they’ve accomplished this, while keeping Buehler, Verdugo, and Alvarez — is it not?

On the flip side though, this puts a lot of pressure on Los Angeles. This signifies that they’re going for it all this year, and if they come up short in doing so, they’ll have a tough time living it down. With Darvish as an impending free agent, there are questions surrounding his status, too. Does he re-sign, or will he test the market? Despite the questions, the Dodgers clearly felt comfortable with the return.

For the Rangers, this is a questionable return. Calhoun, the centerpiece of the deal, is a second baseman by trade, which is also the same position currently held by Rougned Odor. However, it’s also worth noting that Calhoun has experience in the outfield, an area in which the Rangers have a pair of long-term openings in center field and right field. Calhoun, 22, has torn it up with Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, hitting .298/.357/.574, with 23 home runs, 67 RBIs, and a .931 OPS in 373 at-bats. Scouts project him to land in left field, which could work for the Rangers, allowing them to flip Nomar Mazara to right field.

Texas also received right-hander A.J. Alexy and infielder Brendon Davis. Alexy, the 17th ranked prospect in LA’s system, is only 19 years old. Couple that with the fact that he’s only been a full-time pitcher for roughly three years, and you can come to the conclusion that he has a ton of room for improvement. Scouts have graded his curveball as his best pitch at the moment, with his fastball coming in just behind. His changeup has been described as a work-in-progress, however.

In Davis, the Rangers are getting another super-young prospect. Scouts feel that the 20-year-old offers a “high ceiling and low floor.” In his short time as a pro, Davis has seen time at shortstop, third base, and second base. At the moment, it’s unclear what Davis’ long-term outlook is, but as he begins to add strength to his frame, we should get a better idea.

At the end of the day, this deal puts a microscope on the Dodgers. If they fulfill their goal of winning the World Series, this move would have been absolutely worth it. Should they come up short, and allow Yu to walk this winter though, there will be a lot of criticism and questioning of this move. As things stand though, the Dodgers appear to have stolen Yu Darvish at the last possible moment.

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