The Rangers began Yu Darvish trade talks with the Dodgers by requesting top prospects Alex Verdugo or Walker Buehler, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. Texas' ace is expected to be moved at some point before the deadline, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Darvish's last outing was a complete disaster, as the right-hander allowed seven earned runs over 3.2 innings against the Marlins Wednesday evening. However, the start may simply be ill timing for the Rangers, as the Japanese-born pitcher had a 3.44 ERA through 133.1 innings heading into the start. A free agent after the season, Darvish is the best rental starter on the market this deadline, ahead of Cardinals' righty Lance Lynn and now-Twins' lefty Jaime Garcia.
Buehler, a right-handed pitcher and 2015 first-round pick, ranks as the top prospect in the Dodgers' system and no. 17 in all of baseball according to Baseball America. The Vanderbilt product was recently promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City, and has a career 3.11 ERA in 75.1 pro innings. Verdugo, the Dodgers' second-best prospect and BA's 35th overall, is also at Triple-A where he's hitting .328/.401/446 in 89 games.
Is this level of return unreasonable for a rental piece, even one as talented as Darvish? Yes. But are the Rangers justified in setting their prices high for a coveted arm on a relatively weak starting pitching market? Also yes. Given that both prospects are close to MLB-ready, a deal between the two sides is unlikely unless Texas lowers its asking price.