It has been easy to notice the increased chatter surrounding top free agent pitcher Yu Darvish, but his timeline for signing has largely remained uncertain — as has the likely landing spot. The latest updates seem both to narrow and expand the possibilities:
- The Phillies are “checking in” on Darvish, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter), though he also notes that the club is doing the same with other top free agents. Philadelphia appears to be positioning itself as a potential landing spot for players whose markets haven’t developed as hoped. With loads of money to spend, the team could certainly function as an opportunistic buyer, particularly in its greatest area of evident need — the rotation. Unsurprisingly, Rosenthal says, the team would mostly be interested in relatively shorter-term arrangements. That seems to be consistent with the Phils’ approach already this offseason, which has featured relatively hefty salaries on two or three-year arrangements.
- It seems that momentum could now be building toward a decision, as MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweets that Darvish is “increasingly likely” to reach a deal this week. With just three weeks remaining until Spring Training gets underway, it seems reasonable to expect a break in the long-building free-agent tension. For other starters — and perhaps even some other position players — a deal for Darvish could not only set an important market marker but also free certain organizations to pursue other priorities.
- Otherwise, the Twins remain actively engaged in Darvish, Morosi notes, though that has been known for some time now. We last checked in on Minnesota’s interest yesterday, with indications being that the team wasn’t willing to make a market-topping offer. Of course, numerous other teams — in addition to any mystery entrants — are still also reported to be in pursuit. We’ve heard chatter recently of an offer from the Brewers, significant engagement from the Cubs, and ongoing interest from the Rangers and Dodgers. In sum, there’s still little in the way of clarity in terms of how things will play out. But today’s report suggests that organizations could be readying their final push for Darvish, whose representatives at Wasserman are no doubt working to secure the biggest offers possible and sorting through all the other factors that will weigh into the decision.