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Darvish remains in demand on trade market

Dodgers, Nats among teams with Rangers righty on radar
MLB.com @jonmorosi

Yu Darvish had the roughest outing of his Major League career on Wednesday, allowing 10 earned runs over 3 2/3 innings in a lopsided loss to the Marlins.

Still, Darvish remains in high demand ahead of Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline -- in part because of developments elsewhere in the Majors on the same day.

Yu Darvish had the roughest outing of his Major League career on Wednesday, allowing 10 earned runs over 3 2/3 innings in a lopsided loss to the Marlins.

Still, Darvish remains in high demand ahead of Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline -- in part because of developments elsewhere in the Majors on the same day.

When Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw spoke with reporters, he didn't offer a concrete timetable on his return from a strained lower back. Thus, doubt persists as to how healthy -- and effective -- he'll be in the postseason.

MLB Buzz: Trade talk, deals and rumors

Meanwhile, the Nationals placed right-hander Stephen Strasburg, one of their franchise pitchers, on the disabled list with a nerve impingement in his pitching arm. Strasburg has not thrown more than 150 innings in a season since 2014, the year he made the only postseason start of his Major League career.

Perhaps not surprisingly, sources say the Dodgers and Nationals are among the teams showing interest in Darvish. Crucially, neither club is on Darvish's 10-team no-trade list, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Wednesday's defeat increased Darvish's ERA to 5.08 since the start of June. The loss also dropped the Rangers 4 1/2 games behind the Royals for the second American League Wild Card spot. Kansas City has won eight straight, and the widening gap between the teams could nudge Texas general manager Jon Daniels toward trading Darvish.

Darvish, a free agent after the season, is a sensible acquisition for both the Dodgers and Nationals, because they are fully invested in winning the 2017 World Series. The same desperation does not apply to every suitor for the A's Sonny Gray -- even though the Dodgers and Nats have interest in him, too.

Gray has a larger number of active suitors than Darvish, including the Brewers, Yankees and Mariners -- all of whom are intrigued by the fact that Gray won't become a free agent until after 2019.

Video: TB@OAK: Gray goes 6 1/3 vs. Rays to earn the win

Another thing to remember regarding the Darvish market are the new Qualifying Offer rules that were set forth by the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was ratified during the offseason. Under the new QO rules, only teams that receive revenue sharing can receive a first-round compensation pick when a free agent rejects a QO to sign elsewhere. According to sources, the Rangers are not on the list of 16 clubs that will receive revenue sharing, which isn't surprising given the size of their market. As a result, the best they can do if Darvish rejects a qualifying offer and leaves is a comp pick before the third round (likely in the 70s). These new rules could incentivize a trade, as Darvish would certainly bring pack a prospect package more valuable than a Draft pick in that range.

Trade ticker
• The list of available starting pitchers could increase in the coming days, thanks to a new and unexpected seller.

The Twins will consider moving Ervin Santana -- and possibly even the newly acquired Jaime Garcia -- if they continue struggling between now and Monday's Deadline, sources said.

If it happens, the course correction will be abrupt -- and logical. The Twins have lost four straight games, including Wednesday's walk-off defeat against the Dodgers. The teams they are chasing, the Indians and Royals, now own the longest winning streaks in the Majors. Minnesota's run differential -- a season-long harbinger -- has sunk to minus-73.

Santana, an All-Star this year, is under contract for 2018 at $13.5 million -- making him an alternative for the teams that fall short on Gray and want to address next year's rotation. Garcia has yet to pitch for the Twins, but he is scheduled to do so Friday in Oakland -- against Gray's teammates.

Video: MIN@SF: Santana goes distance, notches three RBIs

• Speaking of the Royals: They are on pace to be a team unlike any we've seen in the past 40-plus years.

Here's how: They woke up on May 1 with the worst record in the Majors. If the postseason began today, they'd be the second AL Wild Card team.

According to Francis Keane of MLB Network Research, the 1974 Pirates were the last team to have the Majors' worst record at the end of April and reach the postseason in a non-strike-shortened season.

Jon Paul Morosi is a national columnist for MLB.com.

Yu Darvish