This is going to sound kinda weird, following as it does on the heels of a report that the Twins and Cubs were the two most likely destinations for Yu Darvish, but it might actually be the pitcher’s affinity for the Dodgers that’s mucking up the works. That comes from Andy McCullough of the LA Times, who wrote as much in response to a question in his mailbag column that ran Monday morning.
Yes. My understanding is that Yu Darvish has made clear he would like to return to the Dodgers, and part of the delay in his free agency is related to waiting to see if the team can move some of the money. The Dodgers have explored scenarios for moving useful but (theoretically) extraneous assets such as Yasmani Grandal, Logan Forsythe and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Given the fact that those players are still Dodgers and Darvish is still a free agent, you can guess how the market has reacted to this gambit by the front office.
So, uh, that’s kind of huge. Not sure what drove the editorial decision to make Matt Kemp the subject of both the headline and the featured image, but I’m just a lowly blogger so I don’t know about such matters. Keep in mind, however, that even this Darvish business being the ironclad truth doesn’t mean the Dodgers are in the race.
As McCullough notes, they will have to shed salary in order to add Darvish and remain under the competitive balance tax threshold for the first time in five years. Moving the aforementioned trio of Forsythe ($9M AAV), Grandal ($7.9M AAV), and Ryu ($6M AAV) would give them $22.9 million in addition to the estimated $17.4 million cushion they’ve already got, but that’s assuming they take on little to no salary in return.
And it’s pretty clear that there haven’t been any serious takers for any of those players, at least not on the terms the Dodgers have set. Then you’ve got the hobbled Kemp, whose $20 million was brought back as a way to jettison even more money from other contracts to get under the CBT limit. Moving Kemp would require eating a huge chunk of his salary and/or parting with a big-time prospect, neither of which seems very worthwhile to the Dodgers at this point.
So what it comes down to is Darvish probably being forced to choose his next-best option, which all indications at this point say is the Cubs. That could all change in the time it takes to tweet an emoji, though, so stay tuned to Darvish Echo Chamber Radio for any updates.
Oh boy, this is rich. In a mailbag column of his own, MLB.com Rangers writer T.R. Sullivan wrote that Darvish prefers the Rangers. But unlike McCullough, who based his report on sources or on what he’s heard, Sullivan is expressing this as an opinion based on “all the signs.”
He’s obviously much closer to the situation in Dallas and must be getting different signs as a result, since my interpretation has been the exact opposite.
Here’s the answer Sullivan gave as to when Darvish would sign and what the Rangers were waiting for:
It seems obvious — reading all the signs — that Darvish wants to return to the Rangers. The problem is the Rangers keep saying that it is “unlikely” that they’ll be active at the top of the free-agent pitching market. Certainly the term “unlikely” leaves wiggle room, and the tedious dance continues with Rangers fans left tantalized by the wait.
Despite all other factors being tossed about, Darvish could be the one keeping the free-agent market from moving. He is the top starting pitcher on the market, and those guys usually sign in November. If Darvish were to sign, it could break the inertia. But he may be waiting to see if the Rangers blink first.
Hey, here’s a thought: Maybe Darvish’s camp is feeding people from uninvolved teams the same info in an effort to spur the Cubs, Twins, or Brewers. Wouldn’t that be something?