Forget About the World Series, Darvish is who the Cardinals Need for Future Success.
It is clear that the Cardinals should sign a big name starter to kickstart their potential 2018 World Series run. Who that player should be is not the easiest question to answer, but Yu Darvish can bring the Cardinals the ace they need to make some noise in the playoffs.
Darvish came to the United States from Japan in 2012, and after a successful start to his career in Japan, Darvish took the MLB by storm. Yes, this did happen. Darvish is an elite pitcher, although some GMs forget about his ability due to two particular performances in the World Series.
Recency bias can be a powerful tool. Yu Darvish was bad in the World Series. There is no other way to put it. A 21.60 ERA, and an 0-2 record with only 3.1 innings pitched looks bad in every possible way. It is probably good that Darvish has pitched more than 3.1 innings in his career.
The four time All Star owns a career ERA of 3.42 and has shown the capability to strike out over 200 batters. In 2013, he struck out 277 batters and finished second in the Cy Young voting. Pitching in the National League would improve these numbers as the lack of a DH tends to help pitchers.
In terms of his contract, he will want more money than he is worth. He will want a deal that forgets his awful World Series. Jake Arrieta suddenly becomes very appealing until Scott Boras starts negotiating. There is no separation between these two stars money wise because both will command hefty contracts. Let’s look a little deeper.
Yu Darvish Pros
Darvish and Arrieta both have had injuries in the past, and both have troubling signs of decline. Where Darvish gains an edge is the his velocity has not dropped like Arrieta’s. Velocity doesn’t just come back, but Darvish’s impressive ability to miss bats has not gone away. Given that Molina is the best defensive catcher in baseball, Darvish gains more of a bump given that Yadi can not speed up anyone’s pitches.
Furthermore, Darvish has an issue that can be easily fixed. Working with Yadi could stop his habit of tipping pitches, and put him at the elite level that an ace should be.
Arrieta’s apparent advantage in this debate would be his success in the playoffs. Darvish pitched quite well in the playoffs as well however, going 11.1 innings with a sub 2 ERA prior to the World Series. If one series suddenly defines a player, then Kershaw would have been traded years ago for multiple bad post seasons. Darvish will be just fine.
As long as Darvish continues to strike guys out, he can be a staple in the Cardinals rotation. Walks kill good starts, and Darvish limits them far better than Arrieta. Darvish has a 3.33 career SO/BB ratio compared to Arrieta’s 2.66. Arrieta allows more walks every season, and his velocity is a huge concern.
Pitchers do tend to lose velocity as they age, and neither pitcher is getting any younger. The Dodgers worked extensively with Darvish to improve his mechanics, which led to a far better second half in LA for the former Ranger. Again, working with Yadi can only help this process.
Cardinals are a Fit for Yu Darvish
Darvish has said that his journey to the Major Leagues did not happen because he wanted to play in the Major Leagues. According to him, baseball was too easy in Japan. He legitimately wants to be the best pitcher on this Earth, and his ability to embrace the disappointing World Series performance shows his impressive character.
Yu Darvish will be successful wherever he goes. He is the best free agent pitcher on the market. The Cardinals need to take advantage of the opportunity to sign a player who wants to win. Darvish has shown the ability to be an ace for longer than Arrieta, who may be starting to run out of whatever lightning in a bottle he caught in Chicago. Darvish is the clear choice for the Cardinals, and he will pitch with a goal of returning to the World Series with a better, possibly perfect, result.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference
Photo Captured by: USA Today Sports Jim Young