Since coming to Milwaukee in 2015, David Stearns’ mantra has been to “acquire, develop, and retain young, controllable talent.” It was a noble mission that was expected to carry into this season, but with the trade deadline just days away and his Brewers’ club in first place in the NL Central, Slingin’ Stearns appears to have become less tied his oft-stated goal. He went out and got a rental reliever in Anthony Swarzak yesterday, and it now appears that the Brewers may be interested in another notable free-agent-to-be:
#Brewers, who picked up rental reliever in Anthony Swarzak, are monitoring rental starter tonight, Texas' Yu Darvish.— Tom (@Haudricourt) July 27, 2017
Darvish, who will soon turn 31, has spent his entire 6 year MLB career with the Rangers after beginning his career in Japan. He’s been one of the most dominant starters in the game since coming overseas, compiling a 3.32 ERA/3.27 FIP across 779.0 innings with 11.03 K/9 and 3.37 BB/9. He missed the 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but his average fastball velocity of 94.7 MPH this season is nearly a mile-per-hour above his career average.
Darvish got rocked in his start tonight, coughing up 10 earned runs in just 3.2 innings to raise his season-long ERA to 4.01 through 137.0 innings. That’s accompanied by a similar 3.98 FIP, painting Darvish as more of a solid mid-rotation starter than a true ‘ace’ this season. His strikeout rate is the lowest of his career at 9.72 K/9 (which is still pretty dang good), but the biggest issue has been the 1.31 HR/9 that he’s allowed in 2017.
Darvish has a limited no-trade clause as a part of the contract that is paying him $10 mil this season, but it does not appear that the Brewers are one of the teams he can veto a deal to:
Yu Darvish’s 10-team no-trade list, per sources: BAL, BOS, CHC, CLE, COL, CWS, DET, OAK, PIT, TOR. Free to go to LAD, NYY, HOU, all others.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 26, 2017
The Rangers do now appear to be willing to part with their ace before he hits free agency this fall, and there has been no shortage of possible interest in his services.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs