Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers and Marlins have been discussing a trade involving pitching. The Rangers, who lost Yu Darvish for the season due to Tommy John surgery, need rotation depth and apparently have interest in Brad Hand. They also need a second left-hander in the bullpen, and the Marlins’ Mike Dunn could fill that gap.
Hand, a left-hander who turned 25 years old on Friday, has a career 4.42 ERA with a 123/88 K/BB ratio over 195 1/3 innings in the majors. Hand is out of options and the Marlins’ starting rotation is full, so he would either open up the season as a reliever or he’d move on to another team.
Dunn, 29, is also out of options. He’s proved effective out of the bullpen for the Marlins over the last two seasons, compiling a combined 2.89 ERA with a 139/50 K/BB ratio over 124 2/3 innings. Over his career, he’s held left-handed hitters to an OPS 115 points lower than right-handed hitters.
[Update, 7:04 PM EST] MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports that the Marlins aren’t looking to move Dunn.
Tigers starter Justin Verlander has never spent a day on the disabled list in his major league career, logging 30 or more starts in every season dating back to 2006. He stands out in a time when a serious elbow or shoulder injury seems like an inevitable part of every pitcher’s career.
Verlander has a theory on that. Via ESPN’s Jayson Stark:
“I think baseball coddles guys so much now that you delay the inevitable. I think the reason you see so many big leaguers blowing out at a young age is because they would have done it before. But now teams limit pitch counts so much, even at the major league level, that now a guy in his second or third year will pop, when it would have happened in the minors.
“Before,” he continued, “when there wasn’t such an emphasis on pitch counts, I think you kind of weeded that out. Then guys would have surgery [in the minor leagues]. Then they’d come back. And then they’d get to the big leagues.”
Dr. Glenn Fleisig, the research director at Dr. James Andrews’ American Sports Medicine Institute, disagrees with Verlander’s theory, suggesting that poor mechanics and pitching while fatigued are the culprits. He said, “I have tremendous respect for Justin Verlander. You and I are not Justin Verlander. We’ve never thrown 200 innings in the major leagues, or even one inning. So he has a different perspective than we have. But I also have a different perspective. I have science.”
As far as Verlander’s theory goes, it certainly doesn’t apply to Yu Darvish. He threw 200-plus innings in four out of his last five seasons in Japan but still succumbed to season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Phillies and Rangers are still discussing a potential trade involving pitcher Cole Hamels. Heyman adds that both sides still appear to be far apart and there isn’t much optimism that a deal would be reached, but the door hasn’t been shut yet.
The Rangers recently lost Yu Darvish for the season to Tommy John surgery and are hurting for starting rotation help. Ross Detwiler, Nick Martinez, Nick Tepesch, and Anthony Ranaudo are competing for spots at the back of the rotation behind Yovani Gallardo, Colby Lewis, and Derek Holland. The Rangers hope Holland — who had microfracture knee surgery last year — will be ready to go not too long after the regular season begins.
The Phillies, meanwhile, are in the midst of a rebuild. They have been openly shopping Hamels for quite some time, but are holding out for a significant haul of prospects. The Padres had talked with the Phillies before signing James Shields, and the Red Sox still remain interested but aren’t willing to part with Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart to acquire the lefty.
As announced by John Blake, the Rangers’ executive vice president of communications …
Darvish will miss the entire 2015 season and probably the first month of the 2016 season. He spent the final six weeks of the 2014 campaign on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow and then left his Cactus League debut this spring after suffering a sprained elbow ligament. The 28-year-old right-hander is due $10 million from the Rangers this season, another $10 million in 2016, and then $11 million in 2017.
Yu Darvish sought three opinions on his sprained elbow ligament and they all recommended Tommy John surgery, so the Rangers ace will go under the knife next week. Dr. James Andrews will do the honors.
He’ll miss the entire season, but the hope is that by choosing the surgery now rather than attempting the rest-and-rehab route Darvish will be back early in 2016 and perhaps even by Opening Day. He’s dealt with elbow problems since last season, when he spent the final six weeks on the disabled list.
Darvish has been fantastic since signing a six-year, $56 million deal with the Rangers in 2012, going 39-25 with a 3.27 ERA in 545 innings while holding opponents to a .216 batting average and posting a strikeout rate of 11.2 per nine innings that ranks as the highest in baseball among starters.
Texas had the worst record in the league last season as injuries wrecked the roster on the way to 95 losses and Darvish being knocked out for the year is a major blow to the Rangers’ hopes of returning to contention. He’s signed through 2017.