Yu Darvish is the best starting pitcher available in free agency this winter and the Twins have said that they’re making him a priority.
They’re not the only team interested in the former Rangers ace. Key members of the Cubs braintrust met with Darvish on Monday, according to reports. And he met with the Astros on Tuesday, according to a report from Jon Heyman. The Yankees and Dodgers also figure to stay in the conversation, according to Ken Rosenthal.
All four of those teams are closer to a World Series than the Twins. The Astros won in 2017 and the Cubs won it the year before. The Dodgers and Yankees are believed to be wary of the luxury tax threshold, but we’ll see about that. They both have their eyes on the 2018 World Series, as well.
But the fact that the Twins are even in the conversation is unusual, considering the club has rarely reached to the top of a free agent class to sign a pitcher.
Darvish split last season between the Rangers and Dodgers, and famously had two lousy outing in Games 3 and 7 of the World Series against the Astros. In the regular season, Darvish had a 3.86 ERA in 186 2/3 innings, with a 27.3% strikeout rate and a 7.6% walk rate. Since 2012, only one pitcher — Max Scherzer — has throwns 800 innings with a better strikeout rate than Darvish’s 29.7%.