At the outset, I’ve gotta echo what you’re all screaming at your screen right now: please let this end. Ideally, in a positive way for the Cubs, but I’m ready for a decision to be made, and then let’s go from there. (Which is not to say I have any beef with Yu Darvish, himself, taking all the time he needs to make such a big and well-earned decision. Do you, Yu. I’m just ready.)
But, just as we were getting comfortable with the idea that things had come down to the Cubs and maybe the Twins and Brewers – with the Cubs beating the field if the offers are close – there’s a significant new wrench thrown into things in the form of Andy McCullough’s latest out of LA.
Answering a mailbag question about whether Darvish might be waiting to see if the Dodgers can move salary in order to facilitate a reunion, here’s the uh-wut response from McCullough: “Yes. My understanding is that Yu Darvish has made clear he would like to return to the Dodgers, and part of the delay in his free agency is related to waiting to see if the team can move some of the money.”
McCullough, who is very good at what he does, says the Dodgers haven’t yet had luck moving guys like Yasmani Grandal, Logan Forsythe and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but I could barely read that part, since I was so hung up on the “Yu Darvish has made clear he would like to return to the Dodgers” part. That seems … pretty significant.
And, sure enough, if it were true – and if the Dodgers were telling him they’re game as soon as they can open up some space under the luxury tax cap this year (since they probably don’t care how far over it they go after this year) – that would explain the way Darvish’s market has gone so far.
It’s also possible that it’s something more like this: Darvish would be happy a few places, but at least one of those places (L.A.) is not seriously in the bidding right now. If they can get there soon financially, cool, he’ll sign. If not, maybe letting other suitors know that your preference is to go back to the Dodgers isn’t the worst leak in the world. Maybe you nudge them with the thinking, “Hey, you know, if you wait too long to add that 5th/6th year, the Dodgers might be able to pull off a salary trade, and then I’m signing with them. Tick tock.”
And maybe among those non-L.A. teams, Darvish does, in fact, prefer the Cubs. But they are being patient because of the presence of Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb (and so few seriously-bidding teams), and Darvish’s camp is being patient because of, among other things, the Dodgers.
If that’s all true, I guess we have another serious rooting interest in the trade market: may the Dodgers not soon find appropriate value for guys like Grandal, Forsythe, or Ryu, or a pure salary dump for a bit of Matt Kemp’s salary.
Bonus frustration? Maybe you could say all of this L.A. stuff about the Rangers, too, where it was thought Darvish would also like to return …
UPDATE: That concluding line and ellipsis, written before I’d seen this, could not have been more perfect and maddening: