Extending Yu Darvish may have been a mistake for the Padres

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Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Padres starter Yu Darvish is likely done for the season after being placed on the 15-day IL with elbow inflammation.

A total of 28 games remain on the schedule for San Diego, and they are currently 7.5 games back of a potential Wild Card. It would take nothing short of a miracle for this squad to make a postseason run in 2023.

It’s been a frustrating season for Darvish and the Friars. The right-hander has his lowest ERA since 2018, where he finished with a 4.95 ERA. Sitting at 4.56, Darvish really struggled to keep opposing hitters from hitting the long ball off of him. He’s allowed 18 homers this season doesn’t have the same strikeout numbers compared to 2022 as well. This will be Darvish’s second time finishing with an ERA over 4.00 in three years as the leader of this rotation.

Manager Bob Melvin and pitching coach Ruben Niebla should sit the former ace for the rest of the campaign. Unless a miracle does happen, bringing him back wouldn’t benefit him for the future. Speaking of the future, the Padres made a crucial decision on Darvish’s future before the season.

A.J. Preller inked Darvish to a 6-year $108 million deal that will keep Darvish in San Diego until he is 42. As of right now, that contract looks like a mistake for this ball club.

Before the 2023 season, Preller had a decision to make. It was either keep Yu Darvish or Blake Snell for the long haul. Preller chose to sign Darvish at a much cheaper price than it would have taken extend Snell at the time. The deal is mostly front-loaded, which is a good thing if he doesn’t produce at a high level moving forward.

Fast forward to now, many are now convinced that Snell would have been the better player to extend. The southpaw is pitching out of his mind this year and will be a candidate for the National League Cy Young award when the season completes.

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Nobody saw it coming besides the man himself. Snell has lowered his ERA to 2.60 on the year, which is the best among all starters in the league. His 193 strikeouts are also third in the majors. It’s going to be tough to see Snell re-sign with San Diego after the miserable offensive season he just witnessed from the dugout each and every night.

This ball club could really use that production again for years to come.

The Padres desperately need Darvish to turn things around in 2024. The good news is every time he has a season with an ERA over 4.00, the right-hander flips the switch and has a much better season following. If that can happen, then that will really benefit the team, as they are not going to get rid of him any time soon. If he doesn’t, then his contract will hurt the team.

Padres Yu Darvish
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The Padres payroll is top-5 in baseball, and it’s already quite embarrassing they weren’t able to finish with a record over .500.

The starting rotation has been the strong suit the entire season for this team. Along with Snell and Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Seth Lugo, and Michael Wacha pitched lights out for a majority of the season. In fact, San Diego led the MLB in lowest ERA among all starting rotations for a good amount of this season. As of now, the Padres still hold the fourth-lowest team ERA in the league at 3.85 behind the Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, and Seattle Mariners.

The 2023 Padres just don’t make any sense.

They have shown that it doesn’t matter how dominant your pitching staff is, if you don’t score more than four runs in a ball game, then you will have a very hard time of winning.

This season is a lost cause. The Padres better hope that Darvish (at age 38) will be able to continue to give them quality innings in 2024, or else they will regret extending him.

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