In the hours after he signed with the Cubs, recalibrating the balance of power in the National League back toward the Midwest, Yu Darvish called Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. His remarks focused on the warmth he felt for Roberts and the Dodgers, before hinting at the rekindling of his competitive drive. "He basically wanted to let me know how much the Dodgers helped him love the game again, and how much he enjoyed it," Roberts said. "And once he got that out, he wanted to make his little dig, about 'now, we get to beat you.'" The banter was playful, Roberts explained. He did not feel the need to be cruel; he declined to ask if Darvish would still be tipping his pitches when the Cubs and Dodgers meet at Wrigley Field in June. The malady played a role in Darvish's two-start meltdown during the World Series. Roberts joked that he would not mind if the affliction returned when Darvish faced his old club. Then Roberts turned and walked toward one of the fields at Camelback Ranch, where the Dodgers pitchers and catchers had assembled for their first workout of the spring. Darvish was not present. A day earlier, the Cubs had celebrated his six-year, $126-million contract with a news conference across the Salt River Valley in Mesa. The Dodgers were moving on without him. The players do not lack for confidence. On Wednesday morning, when closer Kenley Jansen remarked "in the National League, we're going to be the team to beat," it sounded less like a boast and more like a fact. In October, the Dodgers won their first pennant since 1988 and retained the overwhelming majority of their roster. The only major defections were Darvish and reliever Brandon Morrow, who reconvened as teammates with the Cubs. Wary of violating baseball's luxury-tax threshold and pleased with their core, the front office of Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi stayed mostly silent this offseason. They reacquired Matt Kemp for the bad-contract bundle of Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy. They signed reliever Tom Koehler and traded for reliever Scott Alexander. They have yet to add to their starting rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
With Yu Darvish gone, Dodgers still confident in starting rotation
Los Angeles Times | Feb 15