There have been some reports about roadblocks in the contract negotiations between the Rangers and Yu Darvish, but according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com they “expect to sign” the Japanese right-hander before tomorrow’s late-afternoon deadline.
There’s also been some speculation that the Rangers could sign Darvish to a huge long-term deal and then add Prince Fielder as well, but Sullivan reports that “they are not expecting to sign” Fielder if Darvish agrees to terms.
Fielder and agent Scott Boras met with the Rangers in Dallas last week, leading to all kinds rumors about how far along they were in talks, but Sullivan calls the get-together merely “a preliminary meeting.” Connecting the dots, it sounds like the Rangers have Fielder in place as a fallback option should Darvish not sign, but unless Fielder’s demands drop significantly it’s unlikely they’ll both wind up in Texas.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.