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Darvish Plays The Waiting Game.

MLB teams are less than a month away from playing spring training games, and the best pitcher on the free agent market is still unsigned. Yu Darvish remains without a contract, though it's not because he doesn't have enough suitors.

In fact, the reason behind Darvish's prolonged free agency seems to be quite the opposite. Teams like the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins are reportedly willing to give the right-hander a contract, while the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers are doing their best to make a deal work.

( The Los Angeles Times has reported that Darvish's top choice is to return to L.A., though the Dodgers have work to do before they can make that happen. Los Angeles wants to shed about $10 million in payroll before offering Darvish an acceptable contract that could be worth close to $100 million.

The Yankees find themselves in a similar situation. Before New York can add Darvish to their rotation, they want to ensure that they'll be able to make trades during the season that won't put them above the $197 million luxury tax threshold. That would likely mean trading Jacoby Ellsbury, though the more than $63 million guaranteed that's left on the outfielder's contract doesn't make him a desirable trade target for other teams.

There's been speculation that maybe the Yankees could trade David Robertson to shed payroll, but New York probably isn't looking to deal the reliever. Robertson is owed $13 million next year after posting a 1.03 ERA in 30 games with the Yankees in 2017.

If the Yankees and Dodgers are unable to offer Darvish a competitive contract, maybe the Brewers will do enough to land the starter. After a surprisingly strong 2017 campaign that almost resulted in a wild-card berth, Milwaukee has been aggressive in the offseason.

The Brewers have already bolstered their outfield, acquiring Christian Yelich from the Miami Marlins and signing free agent Lorenzo Cain to a five-year, $80 million contract. The next step might be adding a top pitcher to the front of their rotation.

Milwaukee has also been linked to Jake Arrieta, who remains unsigned. The Cubs are reportedly in play for both Darvish and Arrieta.

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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Feb 1, 2018
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