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Yankees Rumors: NY Interested in Yu Darvish After Astros Trade for Gerrit Cole

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01:  Yu Darvish #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers walks to the dugout after being relieved during the second inning against the Houston Astros in game seven of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The New York Yankees didn't trade for pitcher Gerrit Cole but reportedly have their eyes on someone else: free-agent starter Yu Darvish.

On Sunday, John Harper of the New York Daily News reported general manager Brian Cashman's interest in Darvish "is very real, largely because he believes this stalled free-agent market gives the Yankees a chance to get the Japanese star pitcher at a 'reasonable' price."

According to Harper, New York thinks it could sign Darvish to a five-year deal worth between $80 and $90 million.

The Yankees had targeted Cole, but the Pittsburgh Pirates announced Saturday they traded him to the Houston Astros.

A contract worth between $80 and $90 million would be significantly less than the seven-year, $160 million pact ESPN Radio's Michael Kay said New York offered, per Harper. Harper also reported the Yankees never made such an offer, and a Friday tweet by Darvish supported that notion:

ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) @faridyu

They don't give me offer yet🤔 https://t.co/Zlp4KPLdzr

Even at the lesser price, the Yankees would still have financial issues to deal with if they signed Darvish.

Harper pointed out they would exceed the luxury tax threshold even at $16-18 million a year for Darvish and would have to move salary to make the signing work. Still, he acknowledged their "championship-or-bust expectations"—the Bronx Bombers traded for Giancarlo Stanton in December after they reached Game 7 of the American League Championship Series in 2017—and signing Darvish fits that bill.

The right-hander is a four-time All-Star and made 31 starts for the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017. He finished with a 3.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 209 strikeouts in 186.2 innings, though one concern is his 6.14 ERA in four postseason starts for the Dodgers. He also allowed four home runs in five playoff innings for the Rangers in 2016 as well.

The Yankees, however, wouldn't count on Darvish to be a standalone ace, as Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and CC Sabathia already feature in the rotation.

If New York reaches a deal with Darvish, another October showdown featuring its staff and Houston's Cole, Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers could loom.

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