Tag Archives: Seattle Mariners

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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The Pursuit For Japanese Superstar Shohei Ohtani

Netherlands v Japan - International Friendly

Courtesy: Getty Images

The pursuit for the Babe Ruth of Japan continues and the Rangers are right in the mix.

The process of elimination for the services of Shohei Ohtani is underway with seven teams still in the running. Out of those seven, the Rangers and Chicago Cubs are the only two that are not on the West Coast. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners also have Ohtani.

The Japanese superstar has until Dec. 22 to make the call on where he’ll sign his first pro contract in the United States. All seven teams have met with Ohtani and made their sales pitch on why he should wear their uniform.  Now, the wait begins.

So why is he the cool kid that everybody wants to hang out with?

Ohtani is the rare player who was both a pitcher and a hitter in Japan and grades out high in both.  Now the 23-year old wants to do the same thing on the world’s biggest baseball stage to show he’s the real deal.

In 403 career games for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Ohtani had 48 home runs and 166 RBI’s at the plate. On the mound, he went 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA and 624 strikeouts. The fastball was clocked as high as 102 mph and touches triple digits regularly. Combine that with his splitter and slider and the repertoire is just nasty.

Bottom line- He’s an All-Star in both phases.

So what chance do the Rangers have in landing Ohtani? Well, they made it to the final round of seven over teams such as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and world champion Houston Astros. Plus, the rumor that Ohtani likely prefers the small market teams over the big market ones plays helps and could also eliminate the Los Angeles teams in the long run. Add in the fact that the Rangers were one of the teams courting Ohtani out of high school helps present a strong case.

However, Rangers Nation may not feel the same way. According to a recent poll on NBCDFW.com, 57 percent said Texas wouldn’t land Ohtani.

There was a similar feeling in 2012 with a Japanese pitcher named Yu Darvish. Granted, the international rules and posting system was different compared to now but very few gave the Rangers a chance to win the bidding war over teams like the Yankees and Red Sox.

If the magic does happen, you could be looking at a Rangers team with a six-man starting rotation with Ohtani in the mix. Plenty of clubs fell out of the hunt early when they said they weren’t willing to budge on letting him both pitch and hit, eliminating the possibility of seeing something special.

Ohtani’s two-way ability may also lead to something that baseball has never seen. As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News pointed out, that ability would eliminate the need for an extra bat on the bench and make more room available in the bullpen. Keep in mind, the Rangers ran through some pitchers last season in a bullpen that was among the worst in the majors.

And keep in mind, Darvish is a free agent and there’s always the possibility that a deal between him and the Rangers could lead to a reunion. It may sound like crazy talk but there’s a chance.

Could it be déjà vu all over again? Waiting is the hardest part.