Yu Darvish didn’t win the Cy Young on Wednesday. That went to Detroit’s Max Scherzer, thanks to an impressive season that included 21 wins, a 2.90 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. But Darvish’s runner-up showing did move him one step closer to turning the 2017 year on his contract into a player option.
By finishing second, Darvish can opt out of the final season of his contract if he wins the Cy Young in the next three seasons or finishes second through fourth in two of the next three seasons. Darvish’s current contract goes through 2017 with him making $11 million that season (the highest annual value during the life of the contract).
Darvish’s solid 2013 season wasn’t enough to vault past Scherzer in the Cy Young voting. Not only did Scherzer have more wins than any other pitcher and the top WHIP, he was near the top in just about every other key metric.
Darvish had a strong case, too. He led the league with 277 strikeouts, a whopping 11.89 per nine innings. Opponents hit just .194 off Darvish, the lowest average in the AL. It’s worth noting that while Darvish managed just 13 wins, his team scored about two fewer runs per game than the Tigers did for Scherzer.
But Darvish also wasn’t able to hold some leads late in key games for the Rangers and his team didn’t end up making the postseason, which didn't help his cause. The bottom line: His overall resume just wasn’t quite as good as Scherzer’s in 2013.
Darvish's second-place finish is the highest by any Japanese pitcher in Cy Young history.
Once again, though, Darvish had a solid season as the Rangers’ No. 1 pitcher. If that continues, Texas will need to negotiate a new deal no later than after the 2016 season.