Yu Darvish: An Era in Review
Writer: Brandon Fuller
Source: San Antonio Express-News
With the departure of the best Rangers pitcher of the 21st century, I thought it would only be appropriate to review his time here and appreciate him for the only consistent pitcher the Rangers have held onto in a long while. It all starts in 2012 when he comes from playing professionally across the pond in Japan.
Darvish dazzles as he quickly makes his way to becoming the ace on the playoff-hungover Rangers. With a stellar 16-9 record, 221 strikeouts, and an All-Star selection, the bright light on this sinking Rangers ship shined as he finished 3rd in the AL Rookie of the Year and 9th in the AL Cy Young voting. Things were looking up for this team as even though they lost in the Wild Card matchup against the Orioles.
Source: USA Today
Then came 2013, and while the Rangers didn’t exactly flourish that year, Yu Darvish showed the nation that he is not a pitcher to be tampered with as he finished the season with a most phenomenal, league leading strikeout count of 277, the fourth best ERA in the AL with 2.83, and a second consecutive All-Star selection. The 27 year old opened the eyes of the Cy Young voters and finished second only to future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer. The Texas Rangers had now found their franchise pitcher and could now focus on other parts of the team to build on.
After another solid season and a third straight All-Star year, it could only look up for the ace… and then came the 2015 spring training. Yu felt soreness in his right triceps and after an MRI, the worst news for a pitcher was delivered: he had a torn UCL and needed the dreaded Tommy John surgery. This is turn had him sitting out the entirety of the 2015 season and some of the 2016 season while also turning him into some sort of cyborg.
Source: Dallas Morning News
His full return in 2017 was shrouded in trade rumors as he only had a mere year left on his contract and his 6-9 record was unlike one Darvish had ever put out in the Major Leagues. Sadly, and despite the love many fans around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for him, the Rangers didn’t want to hold on to his $10 million salary any longer and swiftly traded him on July 31st to the seemingly unbeatable Los Angeles Dodgers… Efficiently making them now an impossible force to be reckoned with going into the end of the season.
Now whether you agree with the trading of Darvish and the coming “rebuild”, everyone can agree that the man has created some great memories along the way. For example, the ace has had several excited no hit bids, including one that went 8 ⅔ innings against the Astros in 2013 and the Red Sox in 2014. If that doesn’t excite you, maybe a 2016 moonshot home run against the Reds by Darvish will.
Darvish was also the fastest pitcher to ever reach 500 strikeouts, taking only 401 ⅔ innings. Truly a remarkable feat beating Kerry Wood by 3 full innings.
All in all, our time with Yu was well spent, and I believe everyone expects him to have a continuous successful career despite this bump in the road. Heck, some people have even prophesied they can see Darvish coming back to Arlington in the future. But until then, go get yourself a ring, Yu.