The interest is so great for Minnesota that Twins manager Paul Molitor made it pretty clear the organization is going after the 31-year-old Japanese ace.
“Let’s make sure that the player and his team understand that we want to be part of discussions and we have targeted him as somebody we have tremendous interest in,” Molitor said to Neal III. “Where that’s going to go, where the market’s going to go, what we’re able to do, how far other teams are willing to go — you know, [those] things you can’t control.”
Earlier in the offseason, Neal III said Twins general manager Thad Levine described Darvish as a “priority for us” when asked about the top starting pitchers on the free agent market.
Darvish posted a 10-12 record with a 3.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 209 strikeouts over the course of 186 2⁄3 innings last season between the Rangers and the Dodgers. After being acquired at the non-waiver deadline by the Dodgers, Darvish helped the club get to the World Series by winning games in both the NLDS and NLCS, but had two disastrous starts in the Fall Classic, including Game 7.
If they get Darvish, the Twins would have a dynamic duo at the top of the rotation with him and Ervin Santana, who enjoyed an All-Star season in which he went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA while throwing 211 1⁄3 innings, and sign their second starter this offseason along with Michael Pineda (two-year, $10 million deal). In addition, they would be able to complete their pitching staff after also signing veteran Fernando Rodney to help anchor the bullpen.