General manager Jon Daniels has not been approaching the Trade Deadline with the idea of being a seller. The Rangers' aim is to stay in the Wild Card race and not trade their marquee veterans.
"It would take something drastic to consider that," Daniels said when outlining his Deadline strategy after the All-Star break. "It would take a team knocking the door down on a player to consider that."
It appears contending teams are trying to knock down doors as they position themselves for the stretch run. There have already been significant deals involving players for prospects with 11 days remaining before the Deadline.
If the Rangers make Darvish available, he would clearly be the starting pitcher who could have the most impact on a contending team. But he is also a free agent at the end of the season, so he would be a two-month rental (plus postseason) for any team.
The Rangers would get Draft pick compensation if Darvish leaves as a free agent after the season and rejects a qualifying offer. When Ian Desmond signed with the Rockies the Rangers received a first-round Draft pick as compensation. However, under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that was agreed to over the winter, only teams that receive revenue sharing can receive a first-round compensation pick. Not surprisingly, the Rangers are not on the list of 16 clubs that will receive revenue sharing that was reported by MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi. As a result, the best they can do if Darvish rejects a qualifying offer and leaves as a free agent is a comp pick before the third round (likely in the 70s). These new rules could incentivize a trade, as Darvish would certainly bring back a prospect package more valuable than a Draft pick in that range.
Texas also harbors hopes of re-signing Darvish after the season, something the club has made clear since Spring Training.
"We have said before he is the type of pitcher we would like to have on and off the field," Daniels said.
But top starting pitchers -- like Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and David Price -- are commanding more than $30 million annually. Darvish may not be in that stratosphere and he may give the Rangers a discount to stay in Texas, but he is still not going to be cheap. He is also going to turn 31 on Aug. 16.
Darvish goes into Friday's start against the Rays with a record of 6-8, a 3.45 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He is 1-6 with a 4.09 ERA in his past 10 starts, and he's 13-13 with a 3.43 ERA in 37 starts since his return from missing 14 months while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
"This guy is throwing the ball well," manager Jeff Banister said. "I've seen a guy in each of his starts find something different that's electric. The last few starts, it has been the sinker and the fastball. Other games when hitters are on the fastball, it's been the curveball/slider mix. It's a very intelligent understanding of what the hitter is trying to do. I feel he has been showing up and competing very well."