Yu Darvish, San Diego Padres
Darvish re-upped with San Diego over the winter for six more seasons at $108 million, $25 million of that coming to him in 2023. He got that on the premise that the Padres were locking down their team ace.
Turned out they were actually re-signing a 36-year-old No. 3 or 4 starter. Who knew?
Darvish, a once-good pitcher, went 8-10 with a 4.56 ERA in 24 starts covering 136 innings for the Padres. Stop me when I cite any Darvish number that impresses you. He won six fewer games than Michael Wacha ($7.5 million), and gave up more hits per inning than Nick Martinez ($10 million). He struck out one more hitter than Seth Lugo ($7.5 million).
He may have been the highest-paid pitcher on the staff, but he ranked 10th in ERA+, eighth in pitcher WAR, and third in workload.
His 0.8 WAR was barely above replacement level, and his 0.1 WPA registered precisely one tick above me as a clutch contributor in San Diego. As measured by WPA, 2023 was Darvish’s worst season since 2018 in Chicago.
Then there were the injuries, which culminated in Darvish being given the rest of the season off in early September. Transactional grade: D