Af­ter Yu: Rangers caught in mid­dle, mov­ing on with­out pitch­ing ace

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY STEPHEN HAWKINS

When Yu Darvish ar­rived in Texas from Ja­pan in 2012, the Texas Rangers were com­ing off con­sec­u­tive World Series ap­pear­ances.

As was ex­pected with his cel­e­brated en­trance then, Darvish is now pitch­ing for a World Series con­tender. Ex­cept it’s out on the West Coast for the NL West-lead­ing Los An­ge­les Dodgers and not in Texas, where the ace never won a post-sea­son game and wasn’t even part of win­ning a play­off series.

With a third straight AL West ti­tle long out of reach, and the push for one of the Amer­i­can League’s two wild-card spots be­com­ing ever more dif­fi­cult with each loss, the Rangers got three mi­nor league play­ers for the pitcher they spent more than two years scout­ing and

more than $107 mil­lion to ac­quire.

Af­ter com­plet­ing a trade with the Dodgers only min­utes be­fore Mon­day’s non-waiver dead­line, Rangers gen­eral man­ager Jon Daniels was asked if he felt Darvish was worth it — the

time, $56 mil­lion in salary and more than $51 mil­lion they had to pay his team in Ja­pan.

“I do, on a va­ri­ety of lev­els. But ul­ti­mately he was out­stand­ing when he was on the field for us. Pitched at a level very, very few pitch­ers do,” Daniels said. “He got hurt and that’s the na­ture of the game . ... But he pro­duced an ex­tremely high level when he was here.”

Darvish was 52-39 with a 3.42 ERA in 122 starts for Texas. Com­ing off Tommy John surgery, he was 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA in 22 starts this year, in­clud­ing 0-5 in his last eight out­ings.

The Rangers got no im­me­di­ate help af­ter deal­ing Darvish, who this year was an All-Star for the fourth time in the five sea­sons he played. Darvish had el­bow surgery and missed all of 2015, when Texas made a late push to an AL West ti­tle in man­ager Jeff Banis­ter’s first sea­son af­ter the mid­sea­son ad­di­tion of lefty Cole Hamels.

When the Rangers lost Hamels’ de­but ex­actly two years ago Tues­day, they were eight games back in the AL West. They were four games back in the wild-card chase, with four teams be­tween them and the sec­ond spot.

AP PHOTO

In this Jan­uary 2012 file photo, new Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish walks onto the field as mem­bers of the me­dia line up to take pic­tures af­ter a news con­fer­ence at Rangers Ball­park in Ar­ling­ton, Texas.

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