Phillies free agency target: Yu Darvish

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 19: Pitcher Yu Darvish /

Premier starting pitching is hard to find, but the Phillies could find one in free agency

Phillies starting pitching is the weakest link in a chain of growing prospects in the organization. Outside of Sixto Sanchez and Franklyn Kilome in the mid-tier of the system, there are few positives to point towards in the starting pitching department.

For that reason, the Phillies need to add a veteran this offseason who can mentor and anchor a young starting rotation. Free agency’s best in 2017 will feature Japanese star Yu Darvish, a potential candidate for Philadelphia.

Arriving in the United States prior to the 2012 season Darvish impressed the Rangers organization enough to pay him $56 million over six years. After being named to three consecutive All-Star teams Darvish missed the entire 2015 season following Tommy John Surgery.

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Since the procedure, Darvish has missed significant playing time with elbow, shoulder, and back soreness. Texas traded the 30-year-old to the Dodgers at the trade deadline for three prospects, rebooting their farm system after going all-in only a few years ago.

Winning 43% of his career starts Darvish is among the best pitchers in baseball, when healthy. That’ll be the biggest concern for teams going into free agency, even the Dodgers after trading for him.

Darvish likely has three or four more years of being a top-tier starting pitcher in baseball after starting his career in Japan. If the Phils can capitalize on one or two of those seasons the ability to trade Darvish would be intriguing.

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It could either be a four-month high-priced rental and trade with Darvish this year, or a three-year deal that solidifies him as the next ace in Philadelphia baseball.