The Lede: Rangers Ready to Deal Darvish

By Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/]

Don’t have time to read through 1,000 words, but need some informed betting tips? Here’s a quick rundown on today’s biggest sports story (as adjudged by me) and how it impacts the way you should bet.

Texas Rangers are Ready to Trade Yu Darvish

The Texas Rangers are 48-51 and tied for seventh in the Wild Card race, 3.5 games back of the Kansas City Royals for the final spot. FiveThirtyEight gives the Rangers a 23-percent chance of making the playoffs and less than a one-percent chance of winning their division. It’s clear the doubt is starting to set in down in Texas, as management has confirmed that they are willing to trade the ace of their staff, Yu Darvish, for the right price.

The 30-year-old has a 3.44 ERA (ninth in AL) and 1.12 WHIP (seventh) this season in 21 starts for the Rangers. Darvish isn’t having his best season, but everyone remembers his dominant stretch from 2013-2014. In a market that had Sonny Gray as the top starter available, every contender’s ears just perked up following the announcement.

Without Darvish in the rotation, there is no way the Rangers make a playoff push. And that fate should be accepted, since it’s highly unlikely they qualify with him. The Japan native becomes a free agent at the end of the season, and the odds are stacked against the Rangers re-signing him. Even though he’d potentially just be a rental for the buyer, Texas will still likely command an elite prospect in return, or at least a handful of quality future assets.

Look for the Dodgers, Yankees, Astros, and Rockies to make the strongest pushes for Darvish. LA was already looking to add another quality arm to their rotation before Clayton Kershaw injured his back. With Kershaw expected to miss 4-6 weeks, their urgency just increased. The Yankees are also dealing with injury concerns, as Michael Pineda’s season is finished due to Tommy John surgery. The Astros don’t necessarily need another starting pitcher, but they’re dreaming of a World Series this season. Finally, the Rockies are in desperate need of pitching. It’s just uncertain whether they are willing to make any big moves right now.

If the Dodgers or Astros can pull of a trade for Darvish, they would see their odds get even shorter than they already are, and would be able to walk out a terrifying group of starters in the postseason. Adding Darvish would likely cement a playoff berth for either the Yankees or Rockies, as well.

Another implication of Darvish’s availability is Justin Verlander’s stock taking a hit. The 34-year-old is owed a ton of money and age seems to be catching up with him. The Tigers are going to face more difficulties in trying to move him now that another premier starter is on the block.