Pinch me! The Hot Stove appears to be warming up for the Astros.
Yup, Yu Darvish.
That’s right; the Astros are listed by Max Wildstein of Sporting News as one of the five potential landing spots for Darvish’s services.
And is there a mystery team involved? The suspense!
Oh, I love a mystery team. Adds a bit of drama that has been missing from baseball for a while.
You have to appreciate Darvish. How can you not?
As far as the Astros are concerned, Darvish could be the answer to the short-term luxury and long-term necessity in the rotation. In fact, Eric Huysman and I discuss the Darvish rumor at various points in our latest CTH Podcast.
Darvish would fit in quite well within the Astros rotation. He could even fill a void in the long-term if Dallas Keuchel leaves via free-agency next off-season. Anytime you have the opportunity to add a starting pitcher with a career 3.42 ERA and 3.30 FIP in 832.1 innings, you ought to examine further. Much further.
Alas, the contract demands for Darvish, much like fellow free-agent pitcher Jake Arrieta, could be a detrimental factor for the Astros. Dave Cameron, current Padres front office analyst and now formerly of Fangraphs, published his free-agent rankings earlier this off-season, and he had Darvish signing a six-year, $168 million contract. That’s an average annual value of $28 million. The demands may have dropped once you consider the slow off-season, but maybe not. Darvish is still going to get paid like he deserves.
The Astros window is wide-open, and Darvish would be a welcomed luxury to one of the better rotations in baseball. However, general manager Jeff Luhnow and team ownership have to determine how to allocate future dollars to their current foundation once their original contracts end. Dallas Keuchel, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, George Springer, Alex Bregman, Lance McCullers, et cetra. Yes, decisions, and difficult ones, will need to be made in the sometime distant future.
As with the Cole rumor, the Astros could improve their chances at repeating as World Champions in 2018 if Darvish comes to Houston. Only time will tell.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs**