MLB trade deadline: Yu Darvish traded to Dodgers

·MLB columnist

The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired starter Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers on Monday, minutes before the trade deadline, loading up for the stretch run with the best player available on the trade market, sources familiar with the deal told Yahoo Sports.

In exchange for Darvish, a free agent this winter, the Dodgers sent prospects Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy and Brendon Davis to the Rangers.

Darvish, who turns 31 in August, fortifies a Dodgers rotation that already includes an injured Clayton Kershaw and a resurgent Alex Wood. They’ll rely upon him in October, where he’ll take his disappointing ERA and impressive strikeout rate and try to rekindle the notion he is the sort of frontline starter who warrants a long-term extension.

While his last start didn’t exactly scream as much – Darvish allowed a career-high 10 earned runs – his numbers this season had been similar to previous years prior to the meltdown. Darvish continues to strike out more than one batter per inning, and it’s those flashes of dominance, not to mention his wide variety of pitches, that made him such an alluring target in spite of recent struggles.

The Dodgers were far from the only interested parties. At some point or another, the New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals engaged with the Rangers on Darvish.

Some teams couldn’t put together compelling enough packages. Others were loath to budge on giving up high-end prospects for a rental player. In the end, the Rangers didn’t end up getting top prospects Alex Verdugo or Walker Buehler from the Dodgers.

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish adjusts his cap as he works the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, July 9, 2017.
Yu Darvish’s time in Texas is coming to an end. (AP Images)

Texas struggled with the decision to trade Darvish. After last season, when the Rangers made the postseason for a second consecutive year, their future looked strong. A combination of injuries and underperformance plagued the Rangers, and following the 22-10 defeat in which Darvish allowed those 10 runs, Texas decided to sell free agents-to-be.

Onto the market went a starter with a 4.01 ERA and a Tommy John scar on his elbow. And that was fine by the Dodgers, who were happy to jump on Darvish when he was available and now get two full months from him before the time they really need him most.