Are the Phillies once again a mystery team in the pursuit for an ace?
Philadelphia is known for being a mystery team in free agent and trade pursuits, including the second Cliff Lee deal prior to the 2011 season. Phillies ownership continues to make a push to get their trophy back, and this latest story in a quiet offseason is particularly intriguing.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Astros, and Twins are finalists to sign Darvish.
According to what I’d say is a reliable source, there’s a sixth mystery team involved.
Could the Phillies be that sixth mystery team trying to sign Darvish? General manager Matt Kletnak has been very outspoken in his search for a starting pitcher, and Darvish is arguably the best on the open market.
It’s still highly unlikely Philadelphia is still making a push for Darvish considering the money and years he’s reportedly asked for. While the organization has an abundance of cash they’re likely saving as much as possible for the 2018-19 offseason when the free agent class projects to include Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, Manny Machado, and a slew of superstars.
The teams linked to Darvish are either playoff teams or have a history with him. Texas signed Darvish when he first came over from Japan in 2012. New York, Houston, and Chicago have played in the last two World Series and the Twins are a rising team that virtually went from worst to first in their division.
Unless Philadelphia can get Darvish to agree to a shorter deal where they overpay him it’s unlikely they can sign him. Darvish’s agent looks at his 31-year-old client who has a history of arm injuries and knows this could be his final major contract. A five or six-year deal somewhere in the range of $80-100 million with a playoff contender is the likeliest outcome.
However, don’t be surprised if Klentak can swing a deal for Alex Cobb, Jake Arrieta, or Lance Lynn.