Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Pitcher Yu Darvish remains a free agent, but he has reportedly narrowed his options down to the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Astros would be out if they are able to acquire pitcher Gerrit Cole, who they are reportedly close to getting in a trade, via Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Darvish spent the first five-and-a-half seasons of his MLB career with the Rangers before being traded to the Dodgers prior to the deadline. 

As Wilson noted, the pitcher “loved his time with them” and would sign, but Texas is not planning to go after any high-priced free agents this offseason, likely ruling them out of the competition.

This leaves the Yankees, Cubs and Twins as the top options for the 31-year-old.

New York has been hoping to add pitching this offseason with uncertainty in the rotation behind Luis Severino, although Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported last month the team is waiting on Darvish’s price to drop.

For the first time since the luxury tax was invented, the Yankees are trying to stay under it and adding a player like this wouldn’t help.

The Cubs are also interesting as a top contender looking to fill the hole left by free agent Jake Arrieta. The organization is always willing to spend money, although long-term deals could get in the way of re-signing young stars like Kris Bryant or Kyle Hendricks, as well as potentially adding Bryce Harper next offseason.

Minnesota is more of a wild card considering it is rarely a destination for big-name free agents, but this is a team that could be scary with the addition of one more elite pitcher.

Darvish was expected to come off the board quickly this offseason, but he has remained patient along with many other top players in his situation. Still, the four-time All-Star should make a significant impact no matter where he goes after producing a 3.42 career ERA in five seasons.

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