All offseason, we have heard rumors upon rumors about the top two free agent starters; Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. One of those starters, Arrieta, is still unsigned with spring training now officially underway. The other, Darvish, is headed to Arrieta’s former team, the Chicago Cubs.
Dodger fans were split as to whether the Dodgers should re-sign the former Ranger. The entire situation was rather tricky. On the one hand, Darvish is a top-of-the-line arm and would add value to the Dodgers’ rotation. On the other hand, he was looking for a contract that offered him north of one-hundred-million dollars, and for at least five years. The Dodgers, though wealthy and capable of making such an offer, wouldn’t match the Cubs in the end.
This is a perfect example of the negatives and the positives of being a major-market team like the Dodgers.
If they had agreed to pay more than the $126 million that the Cubs offered, they would end up paying nearly $100M more in taxes. Essentially, if the Dodgers offered Darvish a monster contract this year, they wouldn’t be able to offer Kershaw a monster contract next season.
When it comes down to which pitcher I’d rather have in Dodger blue, my answer will always be Clayton Kershaw.
How this signing will affect the Dodgers, though, is rather interesting. Of course, we can’t predict how the Cubs will do, but there’s no doubt that Darvish will give that rotation the boost it needs. The Dodgers will first face the Cubs on June 18th of this season in Chicago. They then face them on the 25th of June in Los Angeles, for a four-game series. With the two teams facing off seven times over the course of two weeks, it’s more than likely that the Dodgers will face their old teammate at least once.
I was excited when the Dodgers traded for Darvish. I knew that he would help Los Angeles win the World Series, and though things didn’t end up falling the way we’d have liked them too, I agreed with the trade. Then again, I don’t think Darvish signing with the Cubs will have a big, if any, impact on the reigning NL Champs. The Dodgers were strong before the addition of Darvish, they’ll be strong after.
The addition of Darvish strengthens the Cubs, but it doesn’t weaken the Dodgers. With the reliability of Rich Hill‘s curveball and the significance of Alex Wood‘s ground ball rate, the Dodgers have nothing to worry about.
Even if they did, there’s still plenty of time left before Opening Day. The Dodgers are solid, and confident, heading into spring training.
As to who will replace Darvish in the rotation is still up for debate. I don’t expect the Dodgers to sign any big free agent starters, but I could picture them making a trade for a current major league pitcher or a prospect from another teams’ Triple-A squad. I could also picture them grooming Walker Buehler to become the next big starter in Los Angeles.
I, for one, think that would be pretty amazing to see.
(FOLLOW SARAH ON TWITTER: @SARAHMANINGER)