In a reader mailbag, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times says his understanding is that free agent starter Yu Darvish would like to return to the Dodgers. Darvish hasn’t signed with a team yet because he’s waiting to see if the Dodgers can free up some payroll space to add him while staying below the luxury tax threshold of $197 million.
McCullough notes that the Dodgers have been unable thus far to move “extraneous assets” like catcher Yasmani Grandal ($7.9 million), infielder Logan Forsythe ($9 million), and pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu ($7.83 million). The Dodgers currently have $185.4 million in commitments for the 2018 season, according to Cot’s Contracts.
Darvish, 31, pitched well for the Dodgers after being acquired from the Rangers on July 31. In nine starts, he posted a 3.44 ERA with a 61/13 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He faltered in the World Series, surrendering nine runs in 3 1/3 innings across two starts against the Astros. Darvish, apparently, had been tipping his pitches and the Astros caught on. The team that ends up signing Darvish would have to be confident the right-hander fixed his tell.
The Red Sox reportedly inked free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez to a five-year, $110 million contract last Monday, but there appears to be a slight hitch in the process. According to a report from Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston, the team is sorting through a medical issue that has delayed the signing. The specific nature of the issue has yet to be revealed, though Drellich adds that both the team and agent Scott Boras have involved additional medical experts in the process.
For what it’s worth, Martinez remained fairly healthy during his 2017 run with the Tigers and Diamondbacks. The 30-year-old outfielder spent six weeks on the disabled list after suffering a right foot sprain during camp, but managed to make a full recovery by mid-May and didn’t relapse once throughout the rest of the year. Of course, the medical issue holding up his new contract could be of an entirely different nature.
While spring training is already underway for the rest of the Red Sox, club manager Alex Cora doesn’t appear too concerned by Martinez’s absence — yet. “The thing I can do is my thing,” he told MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “My job here is to show up every day and get ’em ready.”