Darvish would be a big splash for the Twins and another upgrade to the pitching staff after they reportedly signed reliever Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $4.5 million deal Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
Darvish, 31, went 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 209 strikeouts in 186.2 innings last season between the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers. He continued to put up ace-like numbers, though he struggled in the postseason, going 2-2 in four starts with a 6.14 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 14 strikeouts in 14.2 innings.
Nonetheless, he's arguably the top free agent starter on the market, with Jake Arrieta also in that conversation. And the Twins clearly have interest.
"Let's make sure that the player and his team understand that we want to be part of discussions and we have targeted him as somebody we have tremendous interest in," Twins manager Paul Molitor said when asked if the team had any interest in Darvish, per La Velle Neal III of the Star Tribune. "Where that's going to go, where the market's going to go, what we’re able to do, how far other teams are willing to go—you know, [those] things you can’t control."
General manager Thad Levine, meanwhile, called Darvish a "priority for us" earlier in the offseason, according to that report. Suffice to say, the Twins haven't been shy in their courting of the ace.
It isn't surprising the Twins would try to make a splash this winter. The Twins are fresh off an 85-77 season and postseason appearance, flush with young talent. A player like Darvish would present a major upgrade in the rotation and bolster a team looking to take the next step after building around a young core, similar to how the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs did so in recent years.
The Twins already signed Michael Pineda to a two-year, $10 million contract to improve the rotation, but he likely won't pitch next season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in July. In 2019, however, Darvish and Pineda could potentially headline a very solid rotation alongside Jose Berrios and Stephen Gonsalves.
If Darvish is wooed by Minnesota's overtures, that is.