Darvish “highly likely” to be posted this offseason


Ken Rosenthal reports (with a hat tip to MLBTR) that the latest Japanese sensation, righthander Yu Darvish, is “highly likely” to be posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters this coming winter. It’s the same process that Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kei Igawa went through, meaning MLB teams will bid for the rights to negotiate with the player, and then discuss a contract separately.

The Yankees have been all over Darvish, having sent some serious heat to watch him in the not-too-distant past. Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker explained why Darvish is the real deal over at FanGraphs earlier this year, and it’s not hard to connect the dots with the Yanks in need of at least one, but likely two starting pitchers after the season. Believe it or not, Darvish is close to two full months younger than Phil Hughes.


  1. Johan Iz My Brohan says:

    Instead of paying the ridiculous cost it’s going to take just to be able to talk to him, can the Yankees just trade Igawa and his salary to the Hammies instead?

  2. Kiersten says:

    Hideki Irabu. ugh.
    Kei Igawa. ugh.
    Dice-K. meh.


  3. Dream of Electric Sheep says:

    1. Can his numbers translate in the states?
    2. how much will it cost me just to talk to hiim
    3. Can I allocated that resources better somewhere else.

    • Dream of Electric Sheep says:

      4. how much estimated revenue can he generate for me ?

    • whozat says:

      2) Who cares, unless that amount is coming out of the salary budget?
      3) Obviously. Why would anyone make a decision that they don’t believe optimizes their deployment of resources? Even bad decisions like ARod’s last contract are made because the person made them believed they were the right deployment of resources.

      • Dream of Electric Sheep says:

        1. compelling arguments
        2. Yankees might care, if they have a budget.
        3. obviously to the Yankees? I have yet to hear their takes on this .

        • whozat says:

          You have yet to hear the Yankee take on whether or not they should deploy resources optimally? Whether or not Darvish is the optimal deployment of the money in the Yankee opinion we don’t know. But that’s not what you said…You said, if there’s a better way to deploy resources they should do that. That’s a tautology. Obviously, one attempts to deploy one’s resources optimally.

          Whether there’s a better deployment of X dollars and a roster spot for Y years than a Darvish contract is unknowable unless you know what X and Y are.

          • Dream of Electric Sheep says:

            fair point, I did use ‘I’ instead of the Yankees. This is not an argument against for signing of Darvish , rather, the level of concerns I imaging the Yankees would consider in go into such process.

  4. Mike Nitabach says:

    The Nippon Ham Fighters? Do they *fight* against ham, or are they *powered* by ham?

    • Dream of Electric Sheep says:


    • Frigidevil says:

      Powered by Ham, Nippon Ham that is. Japanese teams are named after advertisers. They’re technically the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters

    • Accent Shallow says:

      The name of the team is the “Fighters”, not the “Ham Fighters”, unfortunately. The name “Nippon Ham” is a major Japanese corporation.

      • Dream of Electric Sheep says:

        Where is the love for Mario? Jumping Mario would be a great name for a baseball team.

        • Mike Nitabach says:

          It would be cool if the Yanks were the New York Guss’ Pickles Yankees.

        • Frigidevil says:

          Yeah, I’m surprised Nintendo doesn’t have a team. Third largest company in Japan and probably the one with biggest global reach.

          • Mike Axisa says:

            Doesn’t Nintendo have a huge stake in the Mariners?

            • Dream of Electric Sheep says:

              I think the the majority owner for the Ms is the chairman for Nintendo corporation. I think Fighting Zelda would be cooler name than the Ms as well.

            • Frigidevil says:

              Yeah, I knew they had a big chunk but i didn’t realize they’re the majority owners of the Mariners.

              Also i hear you can bring your DS to Safeco and use it to order food and other things, and that’s awesome.

              • Dream of Electric Sheep says:

                The chairman himself has yet to see a Ms game in person. Imaging that !

                free Johnny Rocket’s burger for old Nintendo Catridges !
                I still have my Zelda gold somewhere, somewhere…

                • Frigidevil says:

                  Wow that’s kind of messed up, sure some old cartridges are worth a few bucks but I bet there’s a lot of people with some rare games that have been traded for a burger. Mike Tyson’s Punchout!! is worth almost $20!

  5. yankees1717 says:

    as much as the price scares me, i would sure as hell love to have this guy in pinstripes.

  6. Frigidevil says:

    Here’s a great article on Darvish that ESPN ran a few years ago. He seems pretty poised for the spotlight.

    • MikeD says:

      I remember lots of great articles and “can’t miss” predictions for Dice-K and Irabu. Both have (or had) varying levels of success (yes, even Irabu), but no way Darvish will live up to the hype. Proceed with caution.

  7. This would probably end better than signing Cliff Lee. I’m down.

  8. Jake says:

    I would love to see Darvish in pinstripes, but I think there’s no way the Yankees can justify the cost of such an unknown quantity. Especially given the risks inherent with all young pitchers.

    Strasburg got ~$20 million, Champan got $30 million, no way they should spend over $100 million more than that to acquire Darvish.

  9. whozat says:

    So, think of it this way…there’s a 24 year old pitcher stuck in AAA that’s got great stuff and command, and he’s been wrecking the league for years, and you can have him for nothing but money.

    Clearly, they’ve done their due-diligence this time — as they did not with Igawa. They’d be insane not to come up with a figure they’re willing to spend and get involved in the process.

    • Jake says:

      Right, but who would give a 24-year-old in AAA $130 million? In my mind, the posting fee makes his price prohibitive. If they wouldn’t go to $30 for Chapman are they really going to spend four times as much to acquire Darvish?

      • Gonzo says:

        IIRC, most scouts had Yu>Chapman. It also depends on what the Yanks project for both. If the Yanks projected Chapman as a closer/reliever and Darvish as an ace, then you have an answer on why they may pay way more for Yu.

  10. j_Yankees says:

    I’ve said it time and time again.

    Comparing Yu Darvish to…well ANYONE…that has come over to the US from Japan is really doing a disservice. It’s like comparing an orange to a t-bone steak.

    Irabu, Dice-k, Igawa…the reasons these guy fail in the majors is because they do not have the FB command nor the velocity to challenge major league hitters on a consistent basis. With that comes a lack of confidence that can’t be recovered. This lack of confidence in their FBs leads them to go to insane amounts of breaking balls that either get hit all over the fucking ballpark or in dice-K case leads to walks and crazy high pitch counts.

    Darvish has command and velocity on a very live FB and alone puts him LIGHT YEARS ahead of his predecessors.

    I’d break the bank for Darvish and would sleep like a baby, even with what will undoubtedly be a pretty hefty posting fee.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Agreed. There are reasons and arguments not to get him whatever they may be but I don’t like the comparisons like Igawa and how he failed.

    • Frigidevil says:

      This guy isn’t some huge upside guy like Aroldis Chapman, he’s already a star.

    • MattG says:

      “Darvish has command and velocity on a very live FB and alone puts him LIGHT YEARS ahead of his predecessors”

      Spoken like fact, but how do you know? I read very similar, very authoritative, and ultimately very wrong statements concerning Daisuke Matsuzaka.

      And the wear on his arm, and his ability to pitch every fifth day (issues shared by all Japanese pitchers), are valid concerns that should interrupt your sleep ever so little.

    • MikeD says:

      That’s an unknown. Irabu was called the Japanese Nolan Ryan, throwing harder in Japan than he ever did in the U.S. Same with Dice-K, who registered higher velocities in Japan. Igawa was not considered anywhere near as good as Dice-K, but even his velocity dipped in the U.S. There is a very slight difference in the balls used in Japan compared to MLB, creating both a velocity and command issue for some pitchers. Darvish will face the same.

      There’s always going to be hype, and Darvish’s owners are seeing a big payday coming if they can keep the hype running high.

      I’m not saying he won’t be a solid major league pitcher, but I doubt he’ll be what’s predicted.

      I would love to see Jorge catching Darvish. The language barrier alone would make it worth the price of admission. Jorge trying to tell Darvish what to throw, and Darvish just ignoring him.

    • Avi says:

      Are you kidding me??
      Irabu was the Japanese NOLAN RYAN (i’m not sure but i think he threw hard). Dice-K was BIGGER than Ichiro and Matsui COMBINED as per erestes destrada (who played in Japan)and said so on Mike and the Mad Dog when he was coming over from Japan. Both had the reputation of throwing VERY hard WITH command. to Spend $100 mil on darvish or even HALF that would be totally ASININE!
      But it fits perfect with Brain Cashman’s pitching acquisitions. Carl Pavano, Jaret wright, Aj burnett, randy johnson, Kevin brown over resigning andy pettitte (after ’03), Javier Vazquez part one, Javier Vazquez the sequel, Kei Igawa..
      i guess Darvish will be a yankee next year. we’re due for one.

  11. Hughesus Christo says:

    After the (EARLY) apparent fail of passing on Chapman, this needs to get done. Also have to think about freeing the franchise to deal some of the MiLB pitchers for deals to acquire long-term talent in the starting lineup.

  12. Jake says:

    Look at it this way, just for the posting fee to negotiate with Darvish, they could absolutely dominate the international free agent market for the next decade. I mean, they could sign everybody.

  13. Tom Zig says:

    This looks like a job for Mryankee

  14. MattG says:

    All Japanese pitching stars, including Nomo, regressed after early success in the major leagues. A theory would be that they cannot adjust to pitching every fifth day, after being conditioned to pitch once a week for their entire lives.

    There’s just not enough data to prove or disprove that theory, but I find any Japanese pitcher a significant risk until proven otherwise.

    That is to say the Yankees should have interest, but there should be someone more brazen with more interest. Damned if I know who though. I can’t see Theo diving headlong into that pool again, the Mets are too cheap, the Mariners need bats, and on and on.

    • Dream of Electric Sheep says:

      Age might have factor into this, since most of them are posted after their prime or at their prime.

      Matsusaka could prove to be exception in this.

  15. icebird753 says:

    LOL I love the comments here. Before Dice-K signed with Boston, everyone thought he would be awesome as well. He was purported to have a high velocity, an amazing array of pitches, and a young enough age to be a star in MLB for years to come. Sound familiar? Darvish isn’t worth it, not at that price

  16. Gonzo says:

    Does anyone else think that Yu’s posting fee might be lower than Dice-K’s? I’d say there is a reasonable chance the big money teams might not go north of 50mm. The Dodgers and Mets probably can’t afford it because of ownership’s $ woes. The other factor is that the economy has changed drmatically since Dice-K got posted. I imagine most big $ owners would be hesitant to spend 50mm to get the right to make an offer. I think the M’s and Sox are the only real threats. I can’t imagine Theo convincing Henry to go over 50mm again after signing Lackey and Beckett, and overbidding for Dice-K by a lot.

    I think this puts the Yanks in the driver’s seat. I think a 50mm bid get’s it done and keeps him out of a real contender’s hands.

    • 28 this year says:

      wow, i should have hit refresh. I have the same point. I think the Rangers could be a threat to some degree since they seem willing to spend on Lee but I doubt they would spend on a lesser known quantity. To be honest, there aren’t that many teams out there that would spend and whoever does, it will be a surprise and in that case, you tip your cap to their gusto and watch what happens.

    • yanksfan81 says:

      the soxs have 5 pitchers for next yr, Beckett, Dice k and lackey are untradeable and theres no way Buch or lester gets moved. The Mariners are probably going to be heavily involved with there strong ties to japan. I could see the Angels getting involved if they choose a pitcher over Crawford or Werth, Tigers have alot of money coming off the books and maybe texas with there aggressive new ownership group. If Chapman got 30M i would guess that Darvish gets betweenn 35-45m and a 5 yr deal at 12-15m.

      The yanks are in the drivers seat if they want to be, I still think Lee is going to be there top priority but if Pettite retires i could see a very strong push for both

  17. 28 this year says:

    maybe the Yankees should just post a fee they are willing to go. The Red Sox aren’t going to get in on him having six aces in their rotation. There aren’t that many big spending teams around. Post 30 million. If that doesn’t work, move on. I mean, the Red Sox spend 15 million more than us. We only need to beat another team by a dollar for the Fighters to post him to us.

  18. j says:

    Comparisons to Matsuzaka are ill-founded. When you compare them up to their age 21 season, guy blows Dice-K out of the water production wise. The only issue I have with Yu is his health. Hes been pitching 150+ pitches with alarming regularity. Granted, he has starts every six days, but it is concerning to me.

  19. Amol says:

    Considering that Darvish has been ambivalent at best about coming to the US, what happens to the posting fee if he doesn’t sign?

    • Mike Axisa says:

      The team still gets it. I’m 99% sure about that.

      • MikeD says:

        If the Yankees (or any team) win the posting rights and the player decided to stay in Japan, but in three years wants to play in the U.S., would MLB team that won the posting rights still “own” him?

        • Gonzo says:

          I hate to disagree with Mike, but I was fairly certain (until Mike’s post) the money was returned to the MLB team. I think that a player can be posted year to year because that was definitely talked about when Dice-K’s negotiations went to the very end.

          Now off to internet research!

  20. M-Three says:

    If we have a chance to get Darvish then I say go get him. Some of you are turned off by this because of Dice-K and Igawa but I think I know why most of these Japanese pitchers are bust when they come here.

    Over in Japan they use 6 man rotation and the starters only pitch once a week. They are not use to pitching once every five days. If we get him it doesn’t mean that we have to throw him into the majors right away. To get him use to pitchin once every five days if the Yanks can sign him they should put him down in Scranton for half a season. Let Darvish get use to pitching this kind of schedule. Then in July if all our starter are healthy and pitching well we should convert him to relief just to break him into the bigs wqith the intend of making him a starter again in 2012.

    This may be a big risk for a pitcher who is unproven in the U.S. but I think the risk will be worth the reward. The kid may be something special and it would be a shame if we let Igawa’s falure scary us from acquiring Darvish. I mean I may be alone in this but I regret us not getting Chapman to be our future closer. Lets not pass up the chance to get another ace. It would be a great offseason if we could get Lee and then Darvish as well.

    • MattG says:

      No, this is backwards. Japanese pitchers have all, without exception I can think of, enjoyed their greatest success immediately after hitting the states. They may not be ready or able to pitch every fifth day, but for most that doesn’t manifest itself for a while.

      • Gonzo says:

        According to Dusty Baker they are “fresh” when they first arrive. He implied that pitch restrictions stifle them. Great stuff!

  21. Matty Ice says:

    If they go after Lee AND Darvish, that’s an ass ton of money.

  22. mike c says:

    young pitchers like this are almost impossible to get, it’s probably worth a gamble

    • Mike HC says:

      I feel like Japan continually over hypes their players because the US has to bid on these guys. Of course they are going to talk up their players as if they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, because they know the payday will be larger from the ignorant US MLB teams.

      I want to think he will be great right away, but I doubt it. He seems to clearly be better than Dice-K, but that is not saying much. The Yanks overpay for everyone (except for Damon and Matsui of course, ha) so they might take the chance, but they will almost surely be overpaying.

  23. bonestock94 says:

    Imagine Cliff Lee and Yu Darvish both getting signed, and Darvish panning out. Shit it’s not my money. That would be beyond epic.

  24. daneptizl says:

    Darvish sits around 92. Not that that’s not enough, but I don’t see why so many people say he sits higher than that.

  25. Hurling Darvish says:

    One thing to consider is that the posting fee, whether it’s $30MM or $100MM, is NOT subject to luxury tax. Since the Yanks are over the limit every dollar spent on free agents, actually costs a buck twenty (I think the rate is 20%). The Sox spent around $100MM on Daisuke and about half was the posting fee.

    I believe Yu makes about $3-4MM currently, so he should be signable for $5mm or so annually. Yu’s deal would be subject to luxury taxation. By comparison the $20MM per year or so for Cliff Lee carry a far heftier tax premium.

    • Gonzo says:

      He isn’t coming to the US to play for $5mm annually.

      • Marcos says:

        This. For Yu, it’s his big payday, he knows it. I’d imagine that he would want/get around 45/4 or 60/5. perhaps a touch more.

        • Hurling Darvish says:

          He’s not a free agent, and has virtually no leverage. When Matsuzaka got posted, Boras wanted $15MM annually, but got about half of that. Maybe Darvish will get a bit more than $5MM, but not as much as you suggest, hopefully.

          Every single Japanese posted player has signed, and none got “premium” contract.

    • Hurling Darvish says:

      I was mistaken about the luxury tax rate. The Yanks have to pay 40% on top of every dollar spent at this point. FORTY percent. If Cliff Lee is signed for $20MM per, it will actually cost $28MM per for 4 yrs, at least. Cliff will be 32years old next season.

  26. Sean says:

    I don’t think we can have a pitcher with Muslim heritage that close to ground zero. JK

  27. Hurling Darvish says:

    It is true that no Japansese starting pitchers have sustained excellence at the MLB level, but we are dealing with a miniscule sample size when it comes to top flight, in their prime pitchers. For the sabremetrically inclined, it’s just not good science to judge Darvish on the performance of a handful of other guys, who happen to be all over the map as far the kind of players they are/were.

    Any true Japanese free agent is going to be around 29 or 30years old, like Kuroda for example. Posted guys like Igawa (28yrs) and Daisuke (26yrs), although not old, have been abused for years in Japan by American pitching standards. Darvish is much younger and statiscally superior to any previously posted pitcher.

    The Yanks have been the most unlucky with the Japanese pitchers they acquired at great expense: Irabu and Igawa. Igawa is a good guy who works hard, but just doesn’t have MLB stuff, period. Irabu had some natural stuff, but was a lazy, unprofessional player, a stark contrast compared to guys like Matsui or Ichiro.

    In a long-winded way, I’m saying that the Yanks should trust their scouts/personnel evaluators when determining if and how much they want Darvish, and not base the decisions on previous Japanese pitchers.

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