No one does drama like the Los Angeles Dodgers. Minutes before the trade deadline expired on Monday, the Dodgers turned what was destined to be considered an underwhelming deadline day for them into a potential landscape-changing day for the entire league by acquiring Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish.
As part of the deal, and first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, the Dodgers will send a trio of prospects that include Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy and Brendon Davis back to Texas.
MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report a Darvish deal was coming, dramatically posting DARVISH TRADED on his Twitter feed moments after the deadline had expired. He soon followed with news that Los Angeles would be Darvish’s destination, which sent a shot of exhilaration through Dodgers fans and a chill throughout every other organization.
Make no mistake, the Dodgers had been busy on Monday. As the deadline grew near, they acquired a pair of veteran left-handers, but both fell short of what would be considered a marquee addition.
Tony Watson was brought over from the Pirates in exchange for minor leaguers Angel German and Oneil Cruz. Though an All-Star previously and a proven commodity as a late-inning reliever, Watson is not an elite reliever like Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton. Many thought Britton would be traded for sure, with Los Angeles as the likely landing spot. Instead, Britton stayed put in Baltimore.
The Dodgers later added Tony Cingrani, an inconsistent left-hander who finally found a home in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen. Cingrani, 28, was an intriguing addition for the upside he still possesses as a reliever, but it again fell short of the splashy move most anticipated the 74-31 Dodgers would make to solidify their position as World Series contenders.
Adding Darvish changed the tone entirely.
Of course, acquiring Darvish at any point during this process would have sent a strong message that the Dodgers consider this their year to strike. That they acquired him as time literally ran out at the deadline perhaps sends an even stronger message. It certainly establishes that the Dodgers won’t be happy simply winning a fifth straight division title or earning home-field advantage throughout the postseason. It’s World Series or bust now, and they’ll take on all comers.
Darvish joins a loaded rotation that already includes Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and Rich Hill. Kershaw is making faster than expected progress from his recent back injury, so it’s possible we’ll see how fierce this rotation can be well before October.
Of course, Darvish has a few kinks of his own to work out. In his final start for Texas, he allowed a career-high 10 runs over 3 2/3 innings against the Marlins. Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reported that scouts believed Darvish was tipping his pitches, so that would indicate the fix could be an easy one.
Darvish, who turns 31 in August, will be a free agent this winter. This deal could also give Los Angeles the leg up in that sweepstakes, helping them to establish a dominant rotation for years to come.
No one in Los Angeles is worried about that now though. There’s a 29-year-old World Series drought there to be broken and this is by far the Dodgers best chance to do it. Anything less would be considered a major disappointment and would have to leave the Dodgers wondering what it could possibly take to get over that hump.
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