If the Los Angeles Dodgers weren’t already the favorites to win the World Series, they certainly are now with Japanese righty Yu Darvish headed west. The trade was reported by longtime MLB insider Ken Rosenthal.
Source: Darvish to #Dodgers
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2017
Darvish, who had spent his entire MLB career with the Texas Rangers prior to the trade, has gone 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA this year after missing all of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery. His velocity has not been affected, and he has 148 strikeouts in 135.1 innings to go with a 1.16 WHIP. His ERA is a bit high, but that is more to posting a 7.20 ERA in July as opposed to a drop in skills.
In return, the Dodgers will receive a package headlined by infield prospect Willie Calhoun.
Make no bones about it, the Dodgers made a great deal in acquiring him.
Darvish + LA = Championship?
Darvish figures to slot right into the front end of Dodgers’ rotation and will be the team’s default ace as Clayton Kershaw recovers from a back strain. He joins a rotation that features another former Japanese star in righty Kenta Maeda, not to mention veteran Rich Hill and breakout lefty Alex Wood.
Now consider the fact that the Dodgers own MLB’s best record at 74-31, and that was achieved WITHOUT Darvish. The team is only better now that the four-time All-Star is part of the rotation and a pitching staff that was already the best in the MLB.
No more excuses
Long story short, there is no reason why the Los Angeles Dodgers shouldn’t end the 2017 season as World Series champions. Keep in mind that though the team has won the NL West each of the past four years, they have only reached the NLCS twice and lost in six games both times. This is largely due to Kershaw carrying the pitching staff on his back, not to mention constantly having to pitch on short rest.
That no longer has to happen, and that’s in spite of Kershaw posting a 4.55 career postseason ERA. Darvish gives the Dodgers the best complementary arm to Kershaw since Zack Greinke, who left for the Arizona Diamondbacks in free agency almost two years ago. He is a strikeout pitcher and just shy of his 31st birthday, not to mention on the cusp of free agency. If things work out, perhaps Los Angeles will look to bring him back on a long-term deal.
It’s also worth noting that on top of the previously mentioned starters, the Dodgers also have an above-average Hyun-jin Ryu as well as veteran righty Brandon McCarthy, who could soon return from a finger injury.
And did I mention that the Dodgers also have a strong bullpen headlined by star closer Kenley Jansen?
There’s no other way to say it, ladies and gentlemen. The Los Angeles Dodgers were already the team to beat this year and now that Darvish is in the picture, their margin of error just got a lot smaller.
Simply put, if this team falls short again this postseason, the front office may not have any answers for ownership.
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