Baseball fans across the Kivalliq were treated to a classic World Series between the L.A. Dodgers and the Houston Astros, which wrapped up on Nov. 1.
I predicted, in this very paper on Oct. 4, the Dodgers (National) and Astros (American) would represent their respective leagues in the Series. Unfortunately, I called the Dodgers to win in six games.
Oh so close.
Ultimately, what led to my misfortune in picking the Dodgers could, in the long run, be a stroke of good luck for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Had starting pitcher Yu Darvish been anywhere near on his game in the Series, the Dodgers would be world champs.
Darvish pitched very well for the Dodgers after they picked him up at the trade deadline, until his two starts in the Series.
He allowed four runs in just 1.2 innings in his Game 3 start and repeated that exact performance in Game 7.
Darvish is now an unrestricted free agent and his value took a significant hit in some corners with his dismal performance.
There is no doubt a number of clubs will still pony up a significant chunk of change to land him, but his Series meltdown will lower interest among the teams seen as bonafide contenders.
Going by his remarks following the games, Darvish will be looking for redemption and will have little interest in a club that is rebuilding, no matter how crazy the money thrown at him.
This may be the crack in the window the Jays need to land Darvish.
The Jays were looking for a fifth starter and to add pitching depth as they planned for the off-season, but Darvish’s situation may well lead to Toronto revamping the game plan and setting their sights on the Japanese star as the club’s number two or three starter.
There have been a number of star pitchers who lost their confidence and were never the same after laying an egg in the World Series – among them Mitch Williams, who blew Game 4 of the 1993 World Series against the Jays and then gave up the historic home run to Joe Carter in Game 6 to give Toronto the championship.
So while there is a risk of the same fate awaiting Darvish, he is a more balanced hurler than Williams and nowhere near as highly strung.
Should everything stay the same between now and when the right-hander inks a new deal, the Jays could be his best bet for signing with a contending team. And this corner says Darvish still has a lot of gas left in the tank.
For his Major League Baseball career, Darvish, 31, sports a 56-42 won-lost record with a very respectable earned-run average of 3.42. And, he has struck out an impressive 1,021 batters in 832 innings pitched.
Should Darvish sign with the Jays, they instantly renew their credibility as genuine contenders and he enters the season knowing if he does his part, a return trip to the World Series is a very real possibility.
There are a ton of factors that go into where a free agent eventually signs, but at this point in time, Darvish and the Jays are a very, very good match.
Hopefully, both parties see things the same way.
If so, October baseball could make its return to Toronto in 2018.