The rumour mills are again going strong. Yu Darvish, Japan’s biggest and brightest star is certainly creating a fire storm over the past month. And why shouldn’t he? He is the best pitcher on the planet not playing in North America, and has the numbers to prove it;
2011 - 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA striking out 276 hitters in 232 innings.
Since joining the Nippon Ham Fighters in 2005 as a 18 year old, Darvish has completed 55 of 167 starts, thrown 18 shutouts, posted a WHIP of 0.985 in 1268 innings and has 93 wins against 38 losses. Hold on, almost forgot, he has a career 1.99 ERA.
Nippon has until 5:00pm on Tuesday to make their decision to accept and announce the winning bid, which apparently, the Toronto Blue Jays are the front-runners to win. $51 million plus is the estimated amount, a bid that was higher than what was offered to Daisuke Matsuzaka, the last greatest pitcher not in the MLB.
That is where the problem lies. It is huge risk to offer that amount of money for someone unproven in the North American game. Darvish has been utterly dominant in the NPB, but the bright lights of the MLB are a completely different world.
In a recent article on SI.com, it has been suggested that the calibre of hitters in the NPB are not up to par to what is seen in MLB. That translates into inflated statistics, and with a small sample size of to compare, a true idea if Darvish will be successful in unclear. But because Darvish’s abilities are so far beyond what can be compared, there’s no telling what can be expected.
The winning bid is only the right to negotiate, it does not guarantee that he will sign which makes this even a bigger gamble, but the scouts and other personnel have obviously done their homework. They obviously know that this kid has some real talent and can get his fastball up to a reported 95mph. I do get nervous at the fact that if Darvish is the real deal how come the Yankees and Red Sox no longer have their hat in the ring?
Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger provided an update on the Yankees bid which was posted on HardballTalk,
The Yankees submitted a bid. But the only way they can emerge with Darvish is if it proves to be the highest on the table, and the person with knowledge said the Yankees’ bid will not be high enough to top those they believe were submitted by a pair of American League rivals, the Rangers and Blue Jays.
“A ridiculous number,” the person with knowledge said, while declining to offer exact figures.
Perhaps the Yankees did not want to get burned again as they have in the past with other can’t miss prospects; Igawa, Irabu.
Tuesday afternoon will be interesting nonetheless. Will the Jays win the bid? Has Alex Anthopoulos pulled a rabbit out of his hat? I’m not sure and I’m also not sure if I am sold on this guy. So much hype has been placed on new draft picks, up and comers and now Darvish, that he will have to be out of this world to live up to what the reports are saying.
For $50 million plus, he better be.
Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective
Devon and is an Associate member of The Professional Writers Association of Canada, is a featured writer on Examiner.com and member of the Yarbarker Network,
Devon is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies, and is now an independent scout.
He is also and author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is also a contributor to the Canadian Baseball Network. He has continued to further his knowledge by completing Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class and interning with The Football Outsiders.
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