The Dodgers were among those who scouted Rangers ace Yu Darvish’s latest start, an eight-frame, 12-strikeout showing against the Rays on Friday. It turns out the Dodgers are one of multiple teams with “strong interest” in Darvish, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB Network. Talks between Los Angeles and Texas are in their preliminary stages, adds Morosi.
With a major league-best 67-31 record, the Dodgers are already something of a dream team, and adding Darvish to the fold would further increase their relatively high odds of being the last club standing at season’s end. The 30-year-old Darvish would give the Dodgers at least two bona fide aces, joining the peerless Clayton Kershaw, and there’s a legitimate case they also have another No. 1 in the lights-out Alex Wood. Los Angeles has also gotten quality pitching this year from starters Rich Hill and Brandon McCarthy, though both come with durability concerns. The depth-laden team has a couple more respectable starters in Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but they’ve been the weakest links in a rotation that tops the majors in ERA (3.33) and fWAR (12.1).
As an impending free agent, Darvish wouldn’t necessarily stick with the Dodgers past this season, yet this year could represent the franchise’s best chance at a championship in a while. So, between that and their top-notch farm system, the Dodgers could elect to make a bold strike and pay what will be a high price to acquire Darvish. Even though the Rangers are struggling, there’s no guarantee they’ll move Darvish, a franchise icon whom they’d like to re-sign. However, just in case, the Rangers have been scouting the Dodgers’ minor leaguers. The Rangers watched highly touted Triple-A outfielder Alex Verdugo on Friday, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News notes (on Twitter). Verdugo is the 35th-best prospect in the game, per Baseball America, and the Dodgers aren’t eager to part with him or other acclaimed youngsters such as righties Walker Buehler and Yadier Alvarez.