THE move that took Yu Darvish to Los Angeles, ending his lengthy association with Texas Rangers, was the biggest deal completed before Major League Baseball’s trade deadline.
The ace Japanese pitcher joined the Dodgers, whose 74-31 record is the best in the MLB and who have stated their World Series ambitions by going all out to land the 30-year-old.
Darvish had tweeted a picture of himself standing next to his Rangers locker 10 minutes before the trade deadline – but he was soon on the move.
Texas received outfielder Willie Calhoun, right-hander AJ Alexy and infielder Brendon Davis in exchange for Darvish.
The right-hander moves to LA when the World Series favourites are without injured ace Clayton Kershaw.
Darvish has had a difficult season in many ways, with a 6-9 record, 4.01 earned run average (ERA) and 148 strikeouts in his 22 starts.
Across his five seasons in the MLB, though, he has proved himself to be one of the best pitchers around. His overall record is 52-39, with a 3.42 ERA and 960 strikeouts from 122 starts, all with Texas.
Darvish is a free agent at the end of the 2017 season and one theory is that he will return to Texas, ideally after helping the Dodgers win a first World Series since 1988.
However, after being traded at the deadline, he told reporters: “I don’t think I’m coming back.”
He added that he will talk to whichever teams show an interest in signing him this autumn.
Even if Darvish does not return to Arlington, he will continue to be synonymous with the Rangers.
He joined the franchise in 2012 following seven seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.
And his wife has already taken to Twitter to thank the Rangers fans and share a picture of the couple’s eldest son’s bedroom, complete with Texas memorabilia.
Whether or not Darvish returns to Texas in 2018, he will continue to be inextricably linked with the franchise that brought him to the United States from Japan.