ARLINGTON -- The Rangers waited until the buzzer was just about to sound on Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but they traded ace Yu Darvish. After months of speculation and rumors, the four-time All-Star was dealt to the Dodgers for three prospects shortly before the 3 p.m. CT deadline.Rangers GM Jon
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers waited until the buzzer was just about to sound on Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but they traded ace Yu Darvish. After months of speculation and rumors, the four-time All-Star was dealt to the Dodgers for three prospects shortly before the 3 p.m. CT deadline.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels said the deal was struck within the last 10 minutes.
"[Darvish] was outstanding when he was on the field for us," Daniels said. "Pitched at a level very, very few pitchers do. He got hurt, and that's the nature of the game -- players get hurt. Pitchers get hurt. But he produced at an extremely high level when he was here."
It was a tough call for the Rangers. They have hovered around .500 since May, well out of the American League West race but within striking distance of a Wild Card spot. Ultimately, Daniels made the call to help replenish the Rangers' higher-level farm teams. They received the Dodgers' fourth-, 17th- and 27th-ranked prospects in Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy and Brendon Davis.
"You don't get those opportunities a lot," Daniels said. "Bit of a challenging call to make. But ultimately we decided that the package that we got, these three young players, was over the line for us."
So ends Darvish's time in Texas. He signed with the Rangers in 2012 and has consistently been among baseball's best pitchers -- he was the runner-up in AL Cy Young voting in 2013, and currently has the best strikeout percentage among starting pitchers in Major League history. Darvish underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and missed the season before returning midway through 2016. He is a free agent at the end of this season, and there's always the possibility he could re-sign with the Rangers in the offseason, though he was understandably tight-lipped about any potential decisions.
"It's hard to comment on any of that," Darvish said. "We're just going to have to wait and see until we get to the offseason. For example, if the Rangers offered me very low money, then I'm not going to sign. I think I'm going to talk to all the teams available who's willing to talk to me and then see what happens. That's all I can say."
Though the Rangers traded away their Opening Day starter, the team doesn't view this as an indication they're giving up on the season. It's the opposite.
"Until they tell us that we're not in the fight anymore, we're still in the fight," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "And I relish the fact that some of this is going to go down as well, the Rangers are now not part of the equation. Go ahead. Can't measure what's inside a man's chest. And what they're willing to play for and what they're willing to fight for."
It's rare that the Rangers make a deal with the Dodgers. In fact, these two clubs did not make any trades between 1990 and 2014, and have not made a deal of any significance since the Rangers acquired Dave Stewart and Ricky Wright from the Dodgers for Rick Honeycutt on Aug. 19, 1983.
The prospects Texas received in return have all been assigned to their teams: Calhoun to Triple-A Round Rock, where Daniels said the Rangers will groom him as an outfielder, and Alexy and Davis to Class A Hickory.
Right-hander Nick Martinez was recalled from Round Rock and, according to Banister, has the inside track to start on Tuesday in Darvish's spot.
Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com.