Yu Darvish can probably scratch the Houston Astros off his list of suitors.
The Astros, the reigning world champs, added to their deep starting rotation over the weekend by acquiring right-hander Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Texas Rangers figure to see him a least a couple times in 2018 over the 19 games the American League West rivals will play.
The Rangers, meanwhile, are stuck in neutral. They haven't made a significant acquisition since the December trade for Matt Moore to finish off the starting rotation. That's how they see the rotation, anyway, barring something dramatic happening with the free-agent market.
That market continues to be flooded by the elite players, as teams wait them out to see if their salary demands fall. Darvish is on that list, and his list of teams, according to a source late last week and presuming the Astros are out, includes the Rangers, Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, and, the latest entry, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The same source that revealed the teams still in on Darvish said that the Dodgers, who acquired him from the Rangers at the trade deadline and saw him fall apart in the World Series, met with the right-hander last week.
Darvish has again been fairly transparent on Twitter, saying there were more than five teams involved after the Star-Telegram reported his list sans Dodgers. He also tweeted that, yes, the Yankees offered him a contract, but, no, it wasn't the seven-year, $160 million pact reported by Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay.
That would have averaged out to $22.86 million a season, hardly chump change. In a story in Sports Illustrated, Jay Jaffe writes that Darvish's career numbers suggest he's worth as much as $30 million a season.
That's way, way out of the Rangers' alleged range. Of course, they can afford $25 million-plus. Owner Ray Davis said last spring that he was willing to go to market value for a player, and the writers in the room all assumed he meant Darvish.
Darvish, the source said, isn't sweating the lengthy free-agent process, meaning he's not at a point where he's starting to consider taking less money.
But what about fewer years?