Season summary: Darvish has been the Rangers ace since joining the ball club in 2012 but injuries have slowed him down this year. He is currently serving time on the 15-day DL recovering from inflammation in his right elbow. In 22 starts for the Rangers this year Darvish has posted a 3.06 ERA to go along with a 10-7 record. Darvish could very well be the one player on this list the Rangers truly do not want to trade but feel compelled to. At 28 years old there is plenty reason to believe that Darvish is still not done as an elite pitcher but the fact that he is still owed about $31 million after this season hinders the Rangers' ability to make future trades or sign players in the off-season thus making him regrettably expendable.
Where he may be traded: When talking about teams in need of starting pitching the three teams that come to mind are the Angels, Pirates, and Yankees. All three teams are in the playoff race and all would benefit greatly from adding a pitcher of Darvish's caliber to their rotation.
The Angels currently own the best record in baseball but their one Achilles heel has been their staring pitching. Apart from Garrett Richards the rest of the Angels rotation has been inconsistent. Adding Darvish would patch up Anaheim's one weakness and give them a deadly three-headed pitching monster consisting of Darvish, Richards, and Jered Weaver heading into the post season. The chances the Angels pull of this trade are slim to none however given the fact that they simply do not have the prospects to land a pitcher of Darvish's caliber.
The Yankees are another playoff contending team that can use a boost to their starting pitching especially after losing C.C. Sabathia for the remainder of the season. A deal for Darvish is unlikely to be pursued by the Yankees however given that they are already over the luxury tax and that a trade for Darvish would likely include them giving up young phenom Michael Pineda who they have likely deemed as untouchable.
The Pirates seem like the one team in the best position to land Yu Darvish. They are far from hitting the luxury tax and have enough young talent to spend on a mega deal like this. It is important to note that the Pirates were in on the David Price trade talks before loosing out to Detroit, so a deal for Darvish is certainly not out of their reach. The acquisition of Darvish combined with the return of Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole would possibly make the Pirates the hottest team in baseball heading into the month of September.
Likelihood he gets traded: likely. Despite his big contract and current stint on the DL, Yu Darvish is too good of a talent to pass up. It is hard to believe that a playoff contender somewhere will not make a deal happen. Expect him to be wearing a different uniform by the time the postseason arrives.