The best record in baseball didn’t stop the Dodgers (74-31) from trying to get better before the July 31 trade deadline. Los Angeles traded three minor-league prospects, including second baseman Willie Calhoun, to the Rangers for Yu Darvish, who will join Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, and Rich Hill in the starting rotation.
Darvish, a four-time All-Star, went 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 22 starts for Texas this season. He also had 148 strikeouts to 45 walks in 137.0 innings.
Ultimately, what can Darvish do for the Dodgers, who are vying for their first World Series since 1988?
“I think it gives them a different look,” MLB Network host Paul Severino said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Obviously the hope would be that Kershaw is healthy by the time the postseason rolls around. Obviously Alex Wood has had a really good season so far, but that’s a couple of lefties right there. Rich Hill (is) also a lefty. So what it does is really mixes in a different side to look at. Put that together with the fact that he’s a pretty darn good pitcher when he’s right, I think that it was one of those things where it’s not to win the West; it’s to win the division series, it’s to win a pennant, and it’s to win a World Series for the first time since the ’80s.
“So I like it,” Severino continued. “I’m glad from a Dodgers perspective that they did something big. Even though they’ve won four straight divisions, it’s not as easy as they made it seem, and it’s not guaranteed they’ll be back every single season. Obviously there’s the Kershaw opt-out in a year or two, so you’ve got to try to maximize this as best you can. If this is their window, I’m glad for them that they pulled the trigger on it.”
The Dodgers have won eight straight, are 39-6 (.867) over their last 45 games, and have a 14-game lead in the NL West. They also have the best run differential (+185) in baseball.
“This is the type of team that can do it,” Severino said. “They’ve fortified what’s already been a pretty strong starting rotation. They got their bullpen a little bit better. The bridge to Kenley Jansen, they strengthened that with (Tony) Cingrani (and) Tony Watson. Their offense has been terrific. I don’t see much of a weakness with this team.”