Tag Archives: Houston Astros

Could The Astros Be In The Mix For Yu Darvish?

World Series - Houston Astros v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Seven

Courtesy: Getty Images

There’s a chance that Yu Darvish returns to the Lone Star State after all. However, there’s a catch.

It might not be with the Texas Rangers.

Darvish packed his bags and left Arlington for Hollywood minutes before last season’s trade deadline. The Rangers made the move, sending him to the Los Angeles Dodgers for prospects. Then the Dodgers punched their ticket to the World Series. Darvish faced off against a team he was familiar with during his days in a Rangers uniform, the Houston Astros.

The results were positive if you were an Astros fan. Their lineup tee’d off on Darvish in his two World Series starts, including the deciding Game 7.  The 31-year old is now a free agent and the Dodgers don’t appear to be interested in bringing him back.

It’s the offseason. Things are about to get interesting.

The team that lit him up in the World Series is now planning on meeting with the righty. The extent of the interest from the Astros is unknown but there’s apparently enough for the two sides to sit down and talk. Keep in mind, Nolan Ryan is with the Astros front office now. He was the Rangers CEO when they signed Darvish prior to the 2012 season.

However, a reunion in Arlington isn’t exactly off the table either. General manager Jon Daniels has reportedly kept an open dialogue with Darvish, who still lives in Dallas. Plus, the ante may have been raised with the recent injury to Martin Perez.

The Chicago Cubs have already met and made their sales pitch to Darvish. The Minnesota Twins are also in the running. Thad Levine, the Twins general manager, was with the Rangers front office when Darvish came on board from Japan. The Rangers are said to be “monitoring” these situations.

Before the postseason, teams were looking at shelling out somewhere around six-years, $160 million for the righty. Those numbers might have come down after the World Series showing. It also remains to be seen how much payroll capacity the Rangers have. They are aiming for the 2018 payroll to come in around the $155 million mark. Signing Darvish could take them well over that point.

There are conflicting reports on if or when the Rangers meet up with their former ace. Jim Bowden of the MLB Network on SiriusXM says a team source told him that Texas will talk with Darvish after the Astros do. However, Daniels said there was no meeting planned at this point.

The Astros aren’t exactly in need of a rotation upgrade with Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Charlie Morton and Brad Peacock. Although teaming Darvish with Verlander and Keuchel does seem strong as they embark on a repeat. Houston also has some upper-level prospects that could soon become rotation worthy. The Astros look like they are going to be a force for a while.

Another team that has been sneaky quiet but could still enter the picture the Seattle Mariners. They have been thought to make a run at a big-time pitcher after losing out on Shohei Ohtani.

So the pursuit of Yu Darvish continues on with both teams in Texas reportedly in the hunt. Where he goes, nobody knows at this point.

That’s the way baseball go.

 

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Report: Rangers Sign Starting Pitcher Doug Fister

Divisional Round - Houston Astros v Boston Red Sox - Game Three

Courtesy: Getty Images

There’s no doubt the Texas Rangers need starting pitching. On paper, there’s Cole Hamels, Martin Perez and several question marks afterwards.

However, the first step in possibly answering at least one of those question marks appears to be happening over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston is reporting that the Rangers have agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal with righty Doug Fister, pending a physical.  The deal would also include a team option for 2019. Rangers Nation may remember Fister from his days in the A.L. West with the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros. Now it seems this time around Fister will be wearing the Rangers uniform when stepping onto the mound in Arlington.

The numbers from last season don’t look that impressive on the surface. Fister was 5-9 with a 4.88 ERA as both a starter and a reliever. He was last seen giving up three runs in 1.1 innings against the Astros in Game 3 of the ALDS. However, look beyond the surface and the signing of Fister may not be such a bad idea, despite the obvious desperation to fill out the starting rotation before spring training rolls around in February.

The velocity and strikeouts improved during Fister’s year in Beantown.  The 33-year old had 83 strikeouts in 90.1 innings pitched, averaging 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. That average was 5.7 in 2016 with the Astros, plus 5.5 and 5.4 in his two seasons before that with the Washington Nationals.

Fister flourished under the Red Sox coaching staff after being claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels. Now the question is whether that improvement can be maintained once he arrives in Arlington.

Even with the addition of Fister, there is still work to be done with the Rangers starting rotation.  There are even names on the free agent market with Texas Connects Us ties such as Yu Darvish, Andrew Cashner and John Lackey. Other interesting options include Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, Tyler Chatwood and C.C. Sabathia.

And then there’s the pursuit of outfielder/pitcher Shohei Ohtani. The Rangers are among the favorites to land the “Japanese Babe Ruth” once he’s eligible to be posted as a free agent by the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, which can be as soon as Friday.

One thing is for sure, the signing of Fister could be the beginning of an interesting offseason for the Rangers.