Monday, February 12, 2018

Yu don't say: Thoughts on missing out on Darvish

First, a short explaination for my relative silence the past four days: I've been playing rope-a-dope with the influenza bug, and as Bert Blyleven might put it, it's been kicking my butt-TOCKS.

Somewhere in all that it registered with me that Yu Darvish had agreed to sign with the Chicago Cubs. Count me as disappointed but not surprised. The longer it went, the less likely he was to sign with a non-major market team. I suspect a large part of the delay was waiting/hoping for the Dodgers and/or Yankees to climb into the bidding.

The Darvish deal, as reported, contains items that could justifiably been deal-breakers for the Twins. First the sheer length (six years), and second the opt-out clause, in which Darvish can declare free agency after the 2019 season. That's sort of a "heads I win, tails you lose" provision for the player, and the Twins have made no secret of their dislike for that kind of provision.

I am not privy to what the Twins offered Darvish, of course. They are said to have been among the suitors offering in excess of $100 million. I suggested some weeks ago that a higher annual average value over a shorter time span -- say four years for $100 million -- was preferable the same money in  a longer duration. It's a reasonable guess that the Cubs came up the winners by agreeing to a sixth year.

So ... what next for the Twins? Their need/desire for a head-of-the rotation starter has only grown in the past week with Ervin Santana's finger surgery.

The immediate speculation has focused more on a trade with Tampa Bay for either Chris Archer (expensive) or Jake Odorozzi (less talented and less pricy) than on the Jake Arrieta/Lance Lynn/Alex Cobb trio of remaining free agents.

Arrieta is the one of the five with the most impressive track record, and he is also the riskiest. (Note that the Cubs, who know him quite well and aren't run by dummies, made no apparent effort to retain him.) And he and agent Scott Boras probably think Darvish's deal is too small. Scratch him.

Lynn or Cobb would cost the Twins their first-round pick in June. That's an acceptable price for either, but neither is a particularly good bet to contend for a Cy Young Award. They're on the level of an Ervin Santana, not the Johan Santana of memory. Odorozzi is step or so below that.

So the best chance to land a "true ace" is a trade for Archer, whose results have not yet matched his talent. That trade, should it come to pass, will probably be quite the blow to a farm system that is a bit short of major-league ready talent.

1 comment:

  1. Is it true that the compensation for Cobb or Lynn is a 1st round draft pick? I have seen it stated elsewhere that the compensation would be a lower pick. 2nd,I think.