Not everybody has to make a big, sexy trade at the deadline to acquire a key player. Sometimes, all they have to do is sit around and wait for an elite starter to ring their doorbell. In the case of the Rangers, it will be Yu Darvish on the doorstep, back from a recent bout with shoulder discomfort in the wake of Tommy John surgery, per ESPN.
Yu Darvish is set to make his return to the Texas Rangers' rotation on Saturday.
The American League West leaders said Darvish threw a bullpen session Wednesday and is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list to start the second game of the team's weekend series at the Chicago Cubs.
Not only does Texas have to fend off upstart AL West rivals for the entire second half—imagine having to swat away Jose Altuve for 19 games a season—but the sport’s cruel scheduling gods have them facing off against the Cubs to kick off the second half.
Texas still sits 5.5 games ahead of the Astros in the AL West, despite dropping nine of their last 12 games prior to the break. Cole Hamels is obviously a stud, but the rotation has been brutalized by injury to Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, and, obviously, Darvish. The 29-year-old has only made three starts this year, throwing 15.2 innings while allowing 5 ER, 6 BB, and 19 SO. It’s easy to imagine him needing to adjust upon his return, but that hasn’t stopped the assumption that he will be exactly what Texas needs during their late summer push.
Jon Heyman, however, writes that Texas has not been lazy about investigating contingency plans. He expects them and the Red Sox to be two of the most active teams this month in regards to deals, as they have the ability to win now and the stocked arsenal of valued prospects needed to make trades. Back when Drew Pomeranz was still an option, the Rangers seemed a good fit for him—until Boston nabbed him. Still, though, Texas has looked into “basically all available starters,” according to Heyman, so they could find some acceptable help even after Darvish’s return.
Meanwhile, the Cubs are coming off being the entire starting infield for the NL All-Star team, so Darvish will have close to no grace period on Saturday when he makes his first appearance since June 9 against Jason Hammel at Wrigley Field.
With Darvish back, there’s just the matter of extending his contract, which according to Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News, is totally what the Rangers should do...
Yes, I think the Rangers will try to work out something ahead of time, as they should.
I don't think it will do any good.
Enjoy him while you can, Texas.