Blue Jays: Keep an eye on the falling Yu Darvish stock


After a disaster of a World Series for Yu Darvish, his stock in free agency has likely taken a significant hit. Could that work in the Blue Jays’ favour?

The Blue Jays have a few holes to fill during the upcoming offseason, and we’ll start to see those moves being made across baseball, starting five days from now. With the World Series concluding last night, the clock starts for the last of the exclusive negotiating window for teams and their respective free agents.

It’s not unusual for things to get off to a hot start, so there’s little doubt that most teams will have a tentative plan in place for their offseason already, and the market will dictate how quickly things start to unfold. For the Blue Jays, it’s assumed that they’ll have an offseason checklist of: bullpen help, back-up catcher, outfielder, middle infielder, and rotation depth.

The Blue Jays have some in-house candidates for their 5th starter position, but there’s a good chance they’ll pursue a veteran to fill out the rotation, especially with the uncertain status of Aaron Sanchez‘s finger. His blister/fingernail/tendon issues held him to just eight starts and 36 innings in 2017, so it’s tough to count on him until he can get past the issue.

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The front office is likely to pursue an inexpensive option for the rotation, although that’s becoming more and more difficult to find in recent years. Pitching always comes with great cost when it comes to free agency, which is why teams often look at the trade market as well. Last offseason for example, Andrew Cashner got 10 million for one year, Charlie Morton got 14 million over two years, and there was even decent dough for Bartolo Colon at 12.5, and R.A. Dickey eight million. Getting any kind of proven commodity in the rotation comes with a cost. It’s also why the one year deal for 13 million is more than reasonable for Marco Estrada, even after a down year.

With this in mind, the Blue Jays have a few different options, and of course the market will ultimately dictate what Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro can do. And if the World Series did anything for the upcoming pitching market, it might have just created a potential deal for the next employer of Yu Darvish.

Darvish drew the start for the Dodgers in Game 7, and was tagged for five runs in just 1.2 innings of work. Unfortunately, it was his opportunity to redeem himself after being roughed out in Game 3, giving up four runs and six hits in just, you guessed it, 1.2 innings. What could have been a massive boost to his pending free agency has been a disaster for his team, and his future contract.

GM’s won’t forget about the rest of his career as they consider him this offseason, but it doesn’t help the narrative to struggle in “the big game”. It was Darvish’s first career starts in the World Series, but considering the two appearances combined for just 3.1 innings and resulted in nine earned runs, teams may struggle to view him as the “missing piece” to a championship.

He’s been considered an ace throughout much of his career, as he’s earned four appearances in the All-Star game, all as a member of the Texas Rangers, and finished second in AL Cy Young voting back in 2013. At 31 years old and with a career 3.64 ERA, he should have plenty left in the tank, and the only question has been if he can stay healthy over the course of a full season. Now GM’s will be asking themselves if they can trust him in the playoffs, which is a significant factor for the perennial contenders. If you think this hasn’t affected how the Dodgers view him going forward, you’re nuts.

Darvish’s next contract won’t fall into the ludicrous bargain territory, but he may have dropped into a range that could be feasible for the Blue Jays, depending on how they choose to spend their money. He’s still going to make more than 100 million, but if he had taken his two duds in the World Series and turned them into gems, he could been in the 150-200 million dollar range.

I’ll admit this is a bit of a reach, but what started as someone I wouldn’t have bothered even paying attention to, could develop into a situation worth monitoring. Keeping in mind that 25 million for Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ comes off the books and the rotation after next season, it’s not as far fetched as it sounds, even if it’s unlikely.

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