Posted on January 23, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
The MLB free agent market has shown some signs of waking up in recent days. However, many of the top free agents remain available, most notably Yu Darvish. Earlier this offseason, we predicted each team’s odds of landing Darvish. But since then, there have been changes to the market. For Starters, the Houston Astros, who were one of the favorites for Darvish, traded for Gerrit Cole, likely taking them out of the running. Teams from the periphery have also emerged as more serious contenders for Darvish. With that in mind, here are each team’s updated odds on signing Darvish this winter.
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Brewers – 20%
The Brewers were not one of the candidates to sign Darvish earlier this offseason, but they are firmly involved now. There are reports that Darvish has at least one contract offer for five years, and it’s possible Milwaukee is the team that made that offer. The Brewers appear poised to make a big move one way or another before the start of spring training, and recent rumors point to Milwaukee making a serious effort to land Darvish.
Cubs – 30%
The Cubs are now the clear favorites to sign Darvish. Reports that surfaced Monday said Chicago and Darvish were engaged in “active” talks. A deal is not considered inevitable, but there were rumors earlier this winter that a deal was done. Even though those rumors proved to be false, it’s obvious that the Cubs want to sign a starting pitcher, and Darvish is the best one available.
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Dodgers – 15%
There hasn’t been a lot to link the Dodgers with Darvish in recent weeks. But there’s also no reason to take Los Angeles out of the running. While the Dodgers are trying to stay below the luxury tax threshold, they found a way to clear payroll earlier this winter, which could give them the money they need to meet Darvish’s asking price.
Rangers – 15%
Until late July, Darvish had spent his entire big league career in Texas, so a reunion with the Rangers can’t be ruled out. The Rangers haven’t done much this offseason, so it’s possible that they’re holding out for a big move like bringing back Darvish. Money could end up being an issue for the Rangers. But if Darvish feels strongly about returning to Texas, a deal could get done.
Twins – 5%
The Twins have made it clear this offseason that they are quite fond of Darvish. However, the latest reports indicate that Minnesota won’t be able to afford him. If Darvish commands anything close to $150 million over five or six years, the Twins don’t stand a chance. But if teams start to pull out and the price drops, the Twins may try to get involved and find a way to sign Darvish.
Yankees – 15%
Exactly how willing the Yankees are to meet the price for Darvish is unclear. However, after missing out on acquiring Cole in a trade, it’s reasonable that the Yankees will make a serious move for a free agent starter. Like the Dodgers, the Yankees don’t want to exceed the luxury tax threshold, which could make signing Darvish tough. But when it comes to high-priced free agents, you never want to count the Yankees out.