On Monday afternoon, minutes before Major League Baseball's non-waiver trade deadline, the Texas Rangers traded their ace, Yu Darvish, to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor leaguers Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy and Brendon Davis.
As the minutes ticked toward 3 p.m., it appeared that Darvish would not be traded. The pitcher tweeted a photo of his locker stuffed with Rangers gear, and the Rangers beat reporters were quiet about any potential move.
Three o'clock passed, and it appeared that Darvish would stay in Arlington for the remainder of the season. Then Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, perhaps the best-connected reporter in baseball, sent out the following tweet at 3:12 p.m.:
Source: Darvish TRADED.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2017
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The paperwork for Darvish's swap, it turned out, made it to Major League Baseball in time for the trade to go through. Monday's trade closes the door on Darvish's six-year career with the Rangers — at least for the time being; the team could very well re-sign the soon-to-be free agent in the offseason. During Darvish's time in Texas, the team won two division titles — one in 2015, a year Darvish missed in its entirety because of injury, and another in 2016 — and the American League Wild Card in 2012. In the five seasons in which Darvish threw pitches for the Rangers, he made the All-Star team four times.
Throughout, Darvish was a lightening rod for local media and fans. While Darvish turned in stats in line with the best pitchers in the game, he struggled to win consistently because of a frequent lack of run support — to the chagrin of those old-school types who believe wins are the only stats that matter for a pitcher.
One thing never in dispute, however, was Darvish's ability to dazzle when he was on. His start on April 2, 2013, during which he retired the first 26 Astros batters he faced before giving up a two-out, ninth-inning single to Marwin Gonzalez, was an indelible moment in Rangers history.
The move completes a busy trade deadline for the Rangers. On Sunday evening, the Rockies acquired catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the team for a player to be named later, and Jeremy Jeffress, who never clicked in Texas after being acquired at last year's trade deadline, was moved to his former team, the Brewers, earlier Monday.