As Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports, right-handed starter Yu Darvish is “very likely to end the season in a Rangers uniform, even if they do fall out of contention by the trade deadline.” Passan writes that Texas is interested in re-signing Darvish, who becomes a free agent for the first time after this season, and they’d prefer if he didn’t play for another team before they make a run at him this winter.
Darvish, who turns 31 in August, is having another solid season for Texas, having posted a 3.35 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP, 99 strikeouts, and 36 walks in 94 innings. He’s been extremely consistent since he left Japan and joined the Rangers back in 2012, posting a 3.30 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 115 major-league starts.
While Darvish would undoubtedly bring back a solid package as a rental, there are a variety of factors that could drive down his price and make him more affordable for the Rangers this offseason. First of all, he’s thrown 2,035 professional innings since joining the Nippon Ham Fighters at the age of 18. Secondly, he’s had six different stints on the disabled list through his six-year major-league career and has missed time due to Tommy John surgery and shoulder discomfort, which could concern teams as they consider whether to offer him an expensive long-term deal.
As things stand now, the Rangers are still firmly in contention as a Wild Card contender, so it wouldn’t really make much sense for them to sell at the deadline anyway. But if by some chance they go through a rough spell and fall out of the race by the deadline, they’ve got plenty of other tradable pieces, so they could still restock their farm system without having to deal Darvish.
Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Gomez, and Andrew Cashner are all free agents after this season, and Mike Napoli has a club option that he can be bought out of for $2.5 million, so all of those players could be dealt as rentals.