When this free agent stalemate ends, don’t expect the Rangers to be one of the teams pushing to sign Yu Darvish. Club GM Jon Daniels said Friday that although they continue to maintain contact with the ace right-hander, “it’s very unlikely that we’re ultimately going to bring in one of the upper-end pitchers at this point.”
That seems to suggest that the likes of Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn are off the table, though the Rangers could still try to add a few inexpensive depth pieces to their pitching staff before Opening Day. They’re projected to start the year with a rotation of Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Doug Fister, Matt Moore and Mike Minor, and have a plethora of minor league pitchers who could conceivably step into a starting role if need be.
While Darvish has enjoyed a long relationship with the team, he isn’t exactly positioning himself to hand out any hometown discounts this offseason. The 31-year-old righty is reportedly seeking something close to $175 million in a multiyear deal, and another report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic indicates that Darvish is simply biding his time until either the Yankees or Dodgers clear space on their payroll for such an offer.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.