The San Diego Padres are well aware of the fact that their roster is going to look much different this year, as several key contributors are scheduled to hit the open market. Ace Yu Darvish does not rank among them, though most Padre fans probably want to see him in brown and gold for the next few years via an extension.
The Padres have gone all in on the last few years, with the trade for Darvish being one of their most impactful moves to date. With the pitching-rich Dodgers always going to be a threat in the division, having that bulldog at the front of your rotation is going to be necessary for survival.
Darvish is in the final year of his six-year, $126 million deal he signed during his tenure with the Cubs. The idea of Darvish leaving would be a nightmare for the Padres, as they lack the organizational depth to replace him. Luckily, it sounds like A.J. Preller won’t let it come to that.
Preller said that the Padres will “continue having conversations” about giving Darvish an extension in the offseason, adding that he believes Darvish has enjoyed his time in San Diego and likes the area. This pitching staff could get much thinner in the offseason, illustrating the need for Yu and his stuff.
Will the San Diego Padres extend Yu Darvish?
Darvish went 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA this season. Over the last three seasons, Darvish has been a Cy Young runner-up, an All-Star and ace of an NLCS team. He is 36, but his performance shows that he has plenty of gas left in the tank over the next half-decade or so.
Sean Manaea and Mike Clevinger both disappointed this season, and no one would fault Preller for dumping either of them for better options. However, the need for a frontline ace is still there, and Darvish should be the one who fills that void for San Diego during the next few seasons.
While Darvish has velocity, the fact he can still command so many breaking pitches is a sign that he can continue to be an effective pitcher despite age potentially taking some mustard off his fastball. Having thrown 166 innings in each of the last three non-shortened seasons, Darvish can still go deep into games.
While he isn’t going to post a sub-2.00 ERA at this point in his career, last year proved that Darvish is a high-end starter that can be the ace of a playoff team. The Padres, who have started the offseason in aggressive fashion by adding Robert Suarez, are not going to let Darvish get away.