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Rumor Central: Rangers laying groundwork for potential Yu Darvish deal

Yu Darvish is projected to be one of the top free-agent pitchers available this winter. Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers are "talking to multiple contenders" about starting pitcher Yu Darvish as they lay the groundwork to potentially deal the right-hander at the July 31 trade deadline, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

Rumor CentralAccording to Crasnick, Rangers GM Jon Daniels "plans to wait as long as possible" until July 31 to trade Darvish.

In 20 starts this season, Darvish is 6-8 with a 3.45 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. The 30-year-old has recorded 131 strikeouts over 125 1/3 innings.

An All-Star for the fourth time in his major league career this year, Darvish is projected to be one of the top pitchers available on the free-agent market this upcoming offseason. Crasnick called Darvish the Rangers' "most valuable asset."

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported Thursday that Texas recently told teams Darvish could become available at the trade deadline.

-- Alex Tekip