Japanese Star Pitcher Yu Darvish to Be Posted Today

Most of us are well aware of the hype surrounding star pitcher Yu Darvish.  The hype machine has been running pretty strong this offseason, but for some fans the Yu Darvish craze dates back to 2009.  It appears that the hype is about to shift into the next gear because the expectation is that Yu Darvish will be posted today.  After he is posted, Major League teams will have the opportunity to place sealed bids and once that is complete Yu Darvish’s team, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, will take some time to sort through each bid and announce the one that they are accepting – presumably the highest.

I fully expect the New York Yankees to be involved and I hope they make an aggressive bid.  Honestly I’m not opposed to a $60-70 million bid by the Yankees to win the rights to negotiate a contract.  Yes, that is a huge sum of money just to be able to negotiate with a player, but it does not count against the Yankees’ payroll.  When looking at the commitment outside of the posting fee, you’re looking at an investment that actually carries less risk than the other options on the market.  The transition from Japan to America will definitely be tough for Darvish, but the Yankees wouldn’t have to forfeit any draft picks for him as they would have with C.J. Wilson (who is now off the market), nor would they have to trade prospects for him as they would with John Danks, Gio Gonzalez and any other trade target that has been tossed around the web.  The only thing the Yanks would be looking at is money – much of which wouldn’t even count towards the payroll and luxury tax.

The Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals are expected to make aggressive bids as well.  The Rangers figure to be especially aggressive as they just lost their ace to a division rival.  The Nats apparently have a lot of money to spend and are itching to make a nice splash in 2012.  Adding Darvish to the the duo of Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann would definitely be exciting.  There is definitely some stiff competition for the Yankees, but there really is no excuse for them to be outbid here.  Hopefully Brian Cashman and Co. get this done.

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  • T.O. Chris

    I just don’t see the Yankees being as aggressive and in love with Darvish as the blogging community is. At the end of the day we may end up with him, but I don’t believe we will come close to a 60+ million dollar bid. In fact I would be surprised if we bid much more than 35-38 million.

    The Yankees were very interested in Daisuke Matsuzaka back in 06 and they only bid 33 million that time, I’m not sure why they would then go and double up on that bid this time around.

    • craigwilliams

      Yea, they’ll probably exhibit more restraint than we would and I’d love if they won with a $35-38 million bid. Perhaps the Daisuke figure is a good starting point for Darvish, but they played in a different game back in 2006. Fewer front-line starters hit free agency these days and its tougher to acquire amateur talent internationally and through the draft.

      • T.O. Chris

        I’m also not sold on Darvish as many are. Most scouting reports I’ve read have him pegged to be at best a number 2 starter, which is honestly not something to go crazy about. Because it’s not like he’s guaranteed to be that, that is what his upside is being pegged at. He could easily be a number 3 or 4 starter as well. He could just as likely never adjust to pitching on 4 days rest, never adjust to pitching on a pitch count, and end up a 5-6 inning guy who rarely eclipses 200 innings, or drops below a 4 ERA.

        As you say that though we have plenty of guys who could be available next offseason. I don’t think the Cain’s, Grienke’s and the Hamels will be available, but some will be. Guys who are as likely to be number 2′s as Darvish, only they’ve proven it.

        • craigwilliams

          Perhaps someone will be available next year, but I don’t like the “let’s just save our money for the next FA class” mindset. Besides, Darvish’s impact on the payroll won’t preclude the Yankees from signing Greinke or Hamels if they do make it to free agency.

          As far as Darvish settling in as a No. 3 starter as opposed to a No. 2, that isn’t THAT big of a deal. What do most people expect the actual contract to end up at 6 years/$60-70 million? That’s not any worse than what Mark Buehrle got from the Marlins and could comparable to what Edwin Jackson ends up getting.

          • T.O. Chris

            I hate the “let’s save our money until next year” mindset, I just don’t love Yu Darvish and I wouldn’t go past 30-35 million on the bid to get him no matter what. He’s just not someone I’m in love with. So in that scenario I would rather wait until next year if it means the only way to gamble on Darvish is to go all out for him.

            I’d much rather make a trade for a young pitcher who’s proven in the MLB than gamble on Darvish. That’s just where I stand. I realize I’m in the minority, that’s just how I feel.

            I feel many are so “go to any lengths to get Darvish” because that means none of the prospects they love so much get traded. We shouldn’t gamble on Darvish just because we want to hug prospects.

            My point was not that I think he will settle in as a number 3, it’s that he could just as easily be a 3 or 4, or even a 5 as he could be a number 2. I just don’t believe in him enough to go all in on the guy.

            When you consider how big a difference it is from Japan to here it’s ridiculous. The ball is bigger in America, it’s textured differently, the strikezone is different, they throw more pitches in the bullpen beore games, the mound is differnt, and most importantly they pitch once a week as opposed to every 5th day.

            The other thing I don’t like is how many pitches he’s thrown in Japan. HE threw 140+ pitches like 10 times last year, and he’s thrown 160 pitches in multiple games per year. His arm is not as young as his age is IMO.

          • craigwilliams

            Is it that big of a gamble though? In a lot of ways I think it might be the safest way to add quality depth to the rotation. Yea, there are a lot of unknowns and a lot of things you touched on that should be considered (particularly the high pitch counts), but there are going to be just as many concerns for any other target that the Yanks (or the fans) lock in on. Whatever amount of money Darvish would get on an annual basis will probably be close to the going rate for whatever he ends up producing – reasonably assuming he’s good enough to avoid becoming A.J. Burnett. I think its a smaller gamble than trading top prospects for someone – even someone relatively proven like Gio or Latos.

            Of course, I don’t really know how Darvish’s talent translates over here. Gotta leave that up to the Yanks and their scouts. I guess I just feel that the pros outweigh the cons of bringing Darvish into the fold and that doing so is a better alternative to HAVING to make a trade to address needs in the rotation. Besides, aside from the Yankees, who cares about the posting fee anyway? It’s not as if it would tie them up financially and keep them from adding talent in the future.

  • T.O. Chris

    Clearly the Red Sox and even the Yankees thought Daisuke would be worth whatever contract they signed him too as well, until he wasn’t. It’s not fair to compare Yu to Matsuzaka, but no one bidding million on Dice-K thought his best two seasons would be 3 WAR seasons, and that he would post 1 season in his career of 200+ innings.

    Tito Francona was talking about yesterday on ESPN that they had a huge argument with Dice-K almost every game about throwing too many pitches in the pen. Which added wear and tear to his arm and wore him out before the game even started. They just play so different a game it’s a huge gamble. Whether the contract comes out to 11 million a year or not you still paid 100 million dollars for the guy. If you post 60-70 million you could end up paying 120-140 million dollars total for someone who at the end of the day is just an average pitcher.

    I think Latos has proven himself to the point of being above average. I would have no problem including Montero in a deal for him. His home/road splits are much closer than Gio’s and his stuff is electric.

    • craigwilliams

      We may just have to agree to disagree on this one because I can’t get on board with moving Jesus Montero for a pitcher when there are reasonable alternatives that would only cost money. Who knows if Darvish can produce what Latos can, but I don’t think the Yankees can afford to trade Montero with the way their offense figures to trend over the next few seasons – not unless they want to put another nine figure contract on the books with Prince Fielder. I think when you consider the prospects you’re giving up, the eventual monetary price of a trade acquisition and the performance risk that comes along with every pitcher, the total risk is greater in a trade than it is for Darvish. In terms of Darvish’s cost we should only focus on what his contract is likely to end up being since that is the only figure that is going to impact the Yankees financially for the entire life of the deal.

      • T.O. Chris

        I just think you are way overvaluing Montero. When you look at what a DH brings to the table, even the best DH in the league, it’s not the same value as a number 2 starter or ace.

        Over his entire Red Sox career Ortiz averages a 3.72 WAR and he is by far the best DH in baseball over that time. I don’t expect Montero to post a .283/.378/.544, .389 wOBA triple slash line and wOBA over his career either.

        Edgar Martinez the greatest DH of all time only averaged 3.88 WAR per season over his career, and there is almost no way he has that kind of career. He simply doesn’t possess the OBP skills that made Edgar great.

        Andy Pettitte averaged 4.18 WAR over his career as at best a number 2 on whatever rotation he was ever on. Top end starters are just more valuable than DH’s.

        I don’t doubt the kid will be good, but Yankee fans are acting like he is the next Albert Pujols or something, that simply makes no sense. I’ve heard the words “once in a generation bat” used over and over again, when in reality he profiles more as Carlos Lee than he does a “once in a generation bat”. I’ve had people be mad at that comparison when I’ve made it and Carlos Lee has had an excellent career.

        • craigwilliams

          Those are interesting numbers and shine some light onto the situation. However, Montero is still going to catch games behind the plate and could eventually move to 1B which you could argue would add some WAR value. Furthermore, I like a lot of the sabermetric stats that are becoming more mainstream, but sometimes I think you still have to look at things in terms of what is happening on the field between the lines. A stud DH is still going to have a huge impact. What would have happened to the Red Sox if they traded David Ortiz for the Mat Latos of their time? I’m still waiting on my time machine so I can’t tell you for sure yet, but they probably don’t beat the Yankees in 2004. I would bet on at least that much.

          I can’t argue that most people (led by me) are going bonkers over Jesus Montero, but its hard not to when the only thing you read about his bat are sterling scouting reports. You also have to look at the Yankees offense over the next few years before considering Montero such an expendable piece. A-Rod and Jeter are long past their primes; Gardner, Martin and Swisher are very nice pieces but they’re complementary pieces (and Swisher could easily be gone by 2013); Teixeira (once he bounces back), Cano and Granderson are studs, but its not going to be long before both Grandy and Cano join Teix on the wrong side of 30. Since no other impact bats in the system are close to making the jump to the bigs, the Yankees need Montero to develop, emerge as a middle-of-the-lineup force and bridge the gap between Cano/Granderson/Teix and whoever makes it through the system over the next several seasons. You also have to consider the positive impact that keeping a guy like Montero (assuming he cashes in on a good bit of his potential) has on the payroll.

          As far as your Carlos Lee comparison, we’ve discussed it before, but I don’t have a problem with it. We’d be thrilled with Montero’s career if he produced a .286/.339/.491 slash line as a homegrown DH/C.