The Yu Darvish market has really been gaining momentum lately, with the Brewers making an offer and the Cubs perhaps ratcheting up the intensity of talks with the Japanese righty. The Twins have also been mentioned as serious suitors and were the only team named in Jon Morosi’s tweet about a Darvish decision coming this week, though they’ve reportedly set a $150 million limit on a deal.
The Yankees, Dodgers, and Rangers are also involved, with Patrick Mooney writing that more possibilities could yet emerge (subscription required/recommended) from among those not publicly identified. One such mystery team is the Phillies, who Ken Rosenthal tweeted were “checking in.”
#Phillies checking in with Darvish and most of high-profile free agents, sources tell The Athletic. Idea is to assess respective markets to see if deal makes sense. Unlikely Phils would be high bidder, but if player fell into their range – preferably short-term – they might jump.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 24, 2018
Rosenthal’s report is a landmine of caveats and qualifiers, making it sound as though Philly is basically just throwing their hat in the ring as sort of a what-the-hell gesture. This jibes with something Rosenthal had said earlier in the offseason, which is that the Phillies might try to lure Jake Arrieta with a three-year, $90 million offer. It’s probably safe to assume that they’d be looking to do the same thing with Darvish.
Given what’s been rumored and reported to this point, it seems highly unlikely that either pitcher would have to settle for such a short deal, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to try. And it could actually be more viable if Philly got really ballsy and offered way higher AAV and/or an opt-out after the first year like the Mets did with Yoenis Cespedes in 2016.
With an estimated $112 million to spend before the hit the competitive balance tax threshold, Lord knows the Phils can afford to bring on all kinds of salary. They’ve got even more room over the next several seasons, so there’s really no fear that a big deal now would put them in a precarious situation down the road. But unless they’re planning to get really creative with deferments and options, it doesn’t sound like they’re going to be aggressive at the top of the market.
All the more room for the Cubs to put something together and get this slow-ass market moving.