LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers made the bold play on Monday, acquiring pitcher Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers in the final minutes before the trade deadline. In exchange, the Rangers receive Triple-A second baseman Willie Calhoun, Class A pitcher A.J. Alexy and Class A infielder Brendon Davis.
The Dodgers identified Darvish as their top target even before Clayton Kershaw went on the disabled list with a back injury. The team now can envision a playoff rotation of Kershaw, Darvish, Alex Wood and Rich Hill.
The latter three pitchers have been acquired at the deadline in each of the three years under president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.
Darvish, 30, has been an All-Star in four of his five major league seasons. He is eligible for free agency after this season.
The Dodgers had been wary of trading their top prospects — pitcher Walker Buehler and outfielder Alex Verdugo — in any deal, let alone one to get a player that might be gone after three months.
The biggest prospect in the trade is Calhoun, who is batting .298 with 23 home runs at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Calhoun, ranked No. 74 on Baseball America’s midseason Top 100 list, profiles as similar to Howie Kendrick — a very good hitter who could become an offense-first second baseman. However, the Dodgers have tried Calhoun in left field as well, and the Rangers offer the American League fallback position of designated hitter.
In addition to Darvish, the Dodgers acquired left-handed relievers Tony Watson (from the Pirates) and Tony Cingrani (from the Reds) on Monday. The deals cost them Calhoun, Scott Van Slyke and five minor leaguers, but they were able to hang on to Buehler, Verdugo and another one of their big four prospects, pitcher Yadier Alvarez.