The Dodgers finally made a huge trade for a top pitcher at the trade deadline, as Ken Rosenthal reported after the 4 p.m. close that the Rangers and Los Angeles had agreed to a deal that would send Yu Darvish to the Dodgers.
Jon Morosi reported that prospect Willie Calhoun would head to Texas as part of the return. Jeff Passan would follow that up by reporting that A.J. Alexy and Brendon Davis were also included in the deal.
The Dodgers were rumored to be in on Darvish even before the Rangers made him officially available, and before their current ace, Clayton Kershaw, hit the disabled list. With Kershaw on the DL because of his back for the second season in a row, though, and the plan of Kershaw and one of Zack Greinke or Rich Hill not enough in the past to push the Dodgers past the NLCS, Los Angeles went in a different direction for 2017 and added Darvish to the rotation.
Now, when Kershaw returns, they have him, Darvish and Hill, plus whichever of their other many capable but-oft-injured starters happen to be around in October. Thanks to whichever of the Dodgers’ seventeen former general managers read our piece on the subject.
Darvish is just a rental for the Dodgers, but four consecutive first-place finishes in the NL West have brought them no further than Game 6 of the NLCS, and the front office is trying not to make that five with yet another postseason defeat. Out of every pitcher available at the deadline, Darvish was the one with the best chance of turning that tide, so even if that’s his lone purpose, it’s a good one.
Calhoun was a top-100 prospect heading into 2017, on the back-end of that list. However, as a 22-year-old at Triple-A this season, Calhoun has batted .298/.357/.574, which is impressive even for the high-offense PCL. As he’s a better hitter than defender — Calhoun plays second, left, and DH — the move to both high-offense Texas and a league with a DH could be great for him and his production. That being said, his time in Triple-A, in spite of his youth, did not move him into Baseball Prospectus’ mid-season top-50 prospects list, so he wasn’t one of the very best Dodgers’ prospects.
Calhoun wasn’t the only prospect, of course. Alexy is a 19-year-old righty who has struck out 10.5 batters per nine innings in Low-A this year as a starter. He walks too many batters, but those strikeouts at that age are maybe more than a lottery ticket, especially in that role. Davis is also just 19, but in High-A the infielder has struggled to contribute much at the plate at that level. He’s projectable and has tools, though, so there is potential here even if it’s hard to see at the moment.
It’s not a package that will blow you away for Darvish, but Darvish is only a rental here. Getting Calhoun and still having the ability to sign Darvish back to the Rangers this winter is a win for Texas, and the Dodgers have themselves another pitcher to rely on in the postseason, which is both new and exciting for them.