With the addition of Japanese sensation Yu Darvish, it’s hard not to picture the Los Angeles Dodgers raising the 2017 World Series Championship come October.
The 30-year-old is in the prime of his career, and despite a slow first half of the 2017 season, the switch from the American League West to the National League West will do wonders for Darvish’s numbers. Other than the Rockies’ ballpark, there’s not much to be feared with the San Francisco Giants out of the mix for this year. The Diamondbacks and Rockies are having surprisingly successful seasons, but history shows the NL is much more comforting to pitchers than the AL is.
With the Dodgers currently sitting at 75-31 (that’s a win percentage of .708,) it’s almost a guarantee that the Dodgers will be making the playoffs as NL West champions. It’s also pretty much a guarantee that Los Dodgers will also be thinning down to a four-man rotation for the 2017 postseason. So, you have Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Rich Hill and Alex Wood as your four-man rotation, plus you have Kenta Maeda and Hyun Jin Ryu out of the bullpen in long-term relief situations. Just to add onto that, you have Tony Watson as your new setup pitcher, and the always dominant Kenley Jansen to close out games. Pitching wise, the Dodgers rotation is nearly perfect.
Hitting wise, the Dodgers are no slouches either. With Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig, Yasmani Grandal and the rest of the crew, the Dodgers can still keep up with some of the league’s top hitting teams. However, it’ll be pitching that will ultimately win the Dodgers games.
Of course, the Dodgers got Darvish for a very low price due to the fact that Darvish is a free agent in the upcoming offseason. Odds are that Darvish would’ve probably left Texas in the offseason for a contender anyways, so it made sense for the Rangers to get something for Darvish while they still could, and gear up to make an offer to try and retain his services through free agency next year. Will it happen? Personally, I doubt it. The Dodgers are a great fit for the right hander, and he’ll have a chance each and every year to compete for a championship ring as long as he’s in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers are one of those teams that seem to have never-ending pockets, so signing Darvish to a long-term contract isn’t out of the question, and it’s not a bad idea if they can persuade Darvish to stay. However, things don’t always work out the way teams want it to. Back in 2015, the Toronto Blue Jays made a similar move to get David Price for their 2015 postseason run. After failing to beat the Kansas City Royals in the 2015 ALCS, Price jumped ship to the Jays’ rival, the Boston Red Sox on a huge deal. While I don’t really see Darvish doing the same, the San Francisco Giants have seen a dismal year from Johnny Cueto, who is signed until 2021, but if they can find a way to move his contract, the Giants would definitely be interested in Darvish.
Realistically, Darvish’s intentions for free agency are completely up in the air, but for the time being, he’s a Dodger. And that’s a very scary thing.