Dodgers Nab Darvish At Deadline
The Dodgers' move to acquire Yu Darvish was the climax of a late flurry to bolster their pitching staff. With Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani already acquired earlier in the afternoon to help the bullpen, the Dodgers ensured their rotation would have a righthanded presence in the postseason to join Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and Rich Hill.
Darvish brings not only frontline ability from the righthand side for the postseason, but is a significant boost to the Dodgers for the rest of the regular season. With Kershaw (back), Scott Kazmir (hip) and Brandon McCarthy (blister) all on the disabled list and Wood and Hill possessing less-than-ideal track records of health, Darvish helps ensure they won’t be hurting for arms by the time the playoffs start, as they were last year by the NLDS.
Moreso, Darvish’s acquisition signifies that the Dodgers, with the best record in baseball and in their 29th straight year without a World Series appearance, have made the decision that now is the time to go all in.
For the Rangers, the trade ends what was a very successful six-year run for Darvish in Texas. Darvish was a four-time All-Star in Texas and helped the Rangers to two playoff appearances. With his contract up at the end of the season, it’s not improbable that Texas could try to re-sign him as a free agent this offseason. But by trading him now, Texas can try to start rebuilding a farm system that has been largely gutted by promotions and trades made in last year’s playoff push.
|RANGERS ACQUIRE Willie Calhoun, 2b Age: 22|
Few in the minor leagues can match Calhoun’s offensive profile. Built like a fire hydrant at 5-foot-8, 187 pounds, Calhoun matches an excellent feel for the barrel and plate discipline with aggressive, powerful swings on anything in the strike zone, resulting in big home run production without sacrificing his batting average or on-base percentage. He is pull-oriented, but can go gap-to-gap as well. Calhoun profiles as an annual 30-home run hitter, if not more, for most evaluators, and his elite hand-eye coordination and barrel awareness has many believing he will hit average as well. The problem is as good as Calhoun is at the plate, he is equally poor in the field. With hands of stone, poor first-step quickness, clunky footwork and a below-average arm. he is virtually unplayable at second base. He began experimenting in left field this year and scouts note he tracks fly balls well enough to one day be potentially fringe-average there, but he has played all of 12 games and needs a lot more experience. Calhoun has the bat of a middle-of-the-order lefthanded masher, and now that he is in the American League and can be a designated hitter, he is in much better position to let it shine in the majors.
|Oklahoma City (AAA)||.298||.357||.574||373||64||111||24||5||23||67||36||49||3|
|A.J. Alexy, rhp Age: 19|
A.J. Alexy is a projectable young righthander who already will touch 93 mph and is projected to add further velocity as he matures–he won’t turn 20 until next season and the 6-foot-4 righthander has room to fill out his still skinny frame. He’s succeeded in the Midwest League thanks to his ability to locate his 89-92 mph fastball with good life and a potentially plus curveball that has good shape and depth but will improve once he learns to throw it harder. Like many young pitchers, he needs to develop his changeup.
|Great Lakes (LoA)||2||6||3.67||19||19||0||73.2||46||3||37||86|
|Brendon Davis, ss Age: 19|
The Rangers have never been afraid of taking projectable players whose bats need to catch up to their tools. Davis fits that approach as he’s long tantalized with excellent body control and athleticism but as a long-levered shortstop, he’s yet to turn his raw power potential into productive power and he strikes out too much. A scout who has seen Davis this year said he believes he can stay at shortstop as an above-average defender thanks to his quick first step, solid instincts and body control. He’s a below-average runner.
|Great Lakes (LoA)||.245||86||310||39||76||19||3||8||35||47||107||3||.357||.403|
|R. Cucamonga (HiA)||.200||8||30||2||6||3||0||1||8||3||13||0||.273||.400|
With Strikeout Milestone, Yu Darvish Makes Good On His Promise Out Of Japan
Darvish became the first pitcher in major league history to reach 1,500 career strikeouts in fewer than 200 games on Monday night.
|DODGERS ACQUIRE Yu Darvish, rhp Age: 30|
Darvish hasn’t quite been as dominant since his 2015 Tommy John surgery as he was before it, but still has been one the game’s better righthanded starters. The Japanese ace sits 95 mph with his fastball and in the low 80s with his slider, and will also mix in a sinker, cutter, and the occasional curveball and changeup. All generate swings and misses and give him a diverse, high-quality arsenal few in the game can match. He ranked in the top 10 in the American League in walks per nine innings, hits per nine and strikeouts per nine, even with each of those marks slightly worse than last season. His postseason experience is limited to just two starts, including an ugly five-inning outing against Toronto in last year’s ALDS. Darvish is a free agent at the end of the year, but will have a chance to pitch himself into Dodgers lore if he can deliver down the stretch and in the postseason as hoped.