MLB Trade Rumors: Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish would make a dynamic one-two punch at the top of a playoff rotation, and rumors that the Los Angeles Dodgers are interested in the Texas Rangers pitcher have been rampant of late, particularly after a five game losing streak that had the Rangers on the verge of falling out of the Wild Card race.
With Kershaw leaving yesterday’s game with a back problem, the internet quickly became ablaze with talk that the Dodgers’ interest in Darvish would be heightened, and the Rangers were in a position to extract even more from L.A. in a deal.
However, this morning, Jeff Passan throws cold water on such speculation, saying if anything, Darvish makes more sense for the Dodgers with a healthy Kershaw. The Dodgers are up 10.5 games in the N.L. West right now, so it isn’t as if the Dodgers would be trading for Darvish to enhance their chances of making the playoffs. Darvish would be an addition to bolster their rotation for a playoff run. Kershaw going on the d.l. isn’t going to impact what the Dodgers would give up to add Darvish, unless there was a significant risk of Kershaw being unavailable for the postseason.
Los Angeles columnist Dylan Hernandez says the Dodgers should be willing to any prospect other than pitcher Walker Buehler to land Darvish. I have no doubt that Buehler would be at the top of the Rangers’ wish list if they were to move Darvish to L.A., and I suspect he’s not someone the Dodgers would part with for a rental -- even a rental as good as Yu. But if the Rangers could get 21 year old outfielder Alex Verdugo from the Dodgers, that would be a huge pickup -- he’s slashing .332/.407/.444 right now, and could potentially be the Rangers’ Opening Day center fielder in 2018.
Of course, this presumes that the Rangers are willing to deal Darvish, and as Jay Jaffe notes, that’s a difficult call for the team to make, given the Rangers are still in the race and want to keep Darvish beyond 2017. Fangraphs has the Rangers with a 21% chance of making the Wild Card, and the next six games against the Marlins and Orioles at home will give the team a chance to show the front office the organization should be buyers, or at least not sellers.
In any case, much can change over the course of the next week, and we should have a much better idea where things stand a week from now...