The 2023 season for Padres starting pitcher Yu Darvish is over. The right-hander has been dealing with an elbow injury and has reportedly tried to pitch through it, though he recently learned he has an “olecranon stress reaction” (via Dennis Lin of the Athletic). Due to that diagnosis, he’s been shut down.
An olecranon stress reaction is a developing stress fracture at the “point” of the elbow. Presumably, the Padres’ medical staff wanted to shut Darvish down before getting to the fracture.
Darvish, 37, finishes the year 8-10 with a 4.56 ERA (90 ERA+), 1.30 WHIP and 141 strikeouts in 136 1/3 innings. The 0.7 WAR is his lowest mark since his disastrous 2018 season.
Compounding matters for the Padres is they signed him to a six-year, $108 million extension prior to this season. That’s a deal that runs through Darvish’s age-41 season.
It should be noted that there’s a chance Darvish could bounce back. He could heal from this stress issue by spring training and have a full 2024. I mentioned the disaster of a season Darvish had in 2018. He bounced back with a much better season in 2019 before finishing second in NL Cy Young voting in 2020.
Then again, Darvish is now moving to his late 30s and it’s always possible the down year this time was age-related decline. We’ll start finding out next season.