Yu Darvish appears to have narrowed down his list of potential destinations for 2018. The Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Astros, Twins and a mystery team are all finalists to land the right-hander, the top free-agent pitcher on the market.The first five teams come according to a report from the Fort Worth
Yu Darvish appears to have narrowed down his list of potential destinations for 2018. The Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Astros, Twins and a mystery team are all finalists to land the right-hander, the top free-agent pitcher on the market.
The first five teams come according to a report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jeff Wilson -- and the mystery team from Darvish himself.
Darvish tweeted Wednesday night that he knows "one more team is in."
Darvish met with several of those teams in December, including the Cubs, Astros and Rangers (a meeting with general manager Jon Daniels that had been planned all offseason). After meeting with Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, Darvish tweeted that the meeting went well.
The Twins have shown significant interest in Darvish, but as of last week they were still reportedly trying to align their schedules for an in-person meeting.
The list makes sense, as it's comprised of Darvish's old team, the Rangers, and a slate of 2017 playoff teams. Those clubs are known to have been seeking a high-end starting pitcher this offseason, and have been linked to Darvish as well as various other free agents and trade targets.
The Rangers have prioritized starting pitching heading into next season as they try to make their way back to the playoffs following a disappointing 2017. A reunion with their longtime ace would be the most direct way to address that, although Darvish may end up exceeding their price range.
The Astros, Yankees and Cubs already have impressive rotations but are looking for even more. Houston is coming off a World Series title, but Justin Verlander is getting older and Dallas Keuchel will be a free agent next year. The Yankees fell just short against the Astros in the American League Championship Series, and are looking for a top arm to join Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray. The Cubs have the most direct need to fill, with Jacob Arrieta having hit free agency.
The Twins' moves this winter have been made with another playoff run in mind for 2018, after their surprise push to the AL Wild Card Game last season. But besides Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios, their starting rotation isn't deep, and adding a starter of Darvish's caliber would go a long way.
Darvish is coming off his fourth All-Star season since coming to the Major Leagues in 2012, with a 3.86 ERA and 209 strikeouts for the Rangers and Dodgers last year. He helped Los Angeles reach the World Series, although he struggled in two starts against the Astros in the Fall Classic.
The 31-year-old has some of the most electric stuff in baseball. He's become a premier strikeout artist in the big leagues, with three 200-strikeout seasons, including an MLB-leading 277 punchouts in 2013.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.