Thinking about Yu

Mother Nature tried to stop 'em, but Yanks beat O's anyway
Greg Bird named number two prospect in Cal Collegiate League
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The dog days of August have morphed into the dog days of September, and we’re all just crossing days off the calender until the Yankees clinch a playoff berth and begin preparations for the postseason. The Jesus Montero experiment is off to a thrilling start and gives everyone a reason to tune in to each game, but otherwise we’re just going through the motions right now. Perhaps I’m taking the Yankees’ success for granted, but so be it. As long as the players and the team aren’t, then it’s no big deal. That’s why I figured I could get away with looking ahead to the offseason.

Regardless of what happens from here on out, we know the Yankees are going to be looking for some kind of starting pitching help this winter. Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, even add Ivan Nova to that mix, have far exceeded expectations this year, but only one of those three is guaranteed to be around next season. No one really knows what to expect from A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes going forward, so the Yankees are still lacking that bonafide number two starter. Perhaps Nova grows into that role with his improved slider, but I’d rather not expect it and be surprised than expect it and be disappointed.

The free agent starting pitching crop is generally weak this coming winter, with C.J. Wilson and Edwin Jackson representing the best of the bunch (ignoring CC Sabathia, since the Yankees wouldn’t technically be adding him to the team). There’s been some speculation that Wilson could get a nine-figure deal, and although I like him as a pitcher, I don’t like him that much. My preference has been to secure a one-year stopgap (Chris Carpenter? Ryan Dempster?) and prepare to go all in during the pitching rich 2012-2013 offseason, but as Jered Weaver’s recent extension has shown, those guys aren’t guaranteed to hit the open market. That’s where Yu Darvish comes in.

(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Nothing is official yet, but the general consensus is that the Nippon-Ham Fighters will make their 25-year-old ace available via the posting process this winter. It would make sense to do it now, with the weak free agent class and the potential for a healthy posting fee. Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker chimed in on all the Darvish stuff floating around today, and sees evidence suggesting that the right-hander will and won’t be posted this winter. Like I said, it’s not official and there’s bound to be evidence supporting both arguments, but it seems like likely.

Within that piece, Patrick notes that Darvish has added bulk to his slender frame (he’s listed at 6-foot-5 and 185 lbs., but Newman says he’s up to 220 now) and is consistently working on the high end of his 93-97 mph fastball, perhaps showing off for all the scouts that flock to his starts. His arsenal of secondary pitches is said to consistent of everything from a slider to a cutter to a changeup to a curveball to a splitter to a shuuto (fancy word for a two-seamer), but if we’ve learned anything from Daisuke Matsuzaka, it’s that six-pitch repertoires can suddenly turn into three- or four-pitch mixes in a heartbeat. I count four different pitches in this video of one of his late-May outings (four-seamer, two-seamer, change, curve), but if you watch any other Darvish video on YouTube, you’ll see him throw a slider. Having five or six pitches and being willing to use them all is a different matter entirely.

We know the Yankees are at least doing their homework on Darvish. They had people watch him in May of 2009, in March of 2010, and in August of 2010, and yesterday George King reported that the Yanks recently sent scout Rick Williams to Japan to watch him pitch, not long after pro scouting director Billy Eppler made a similar trip. I do have some reservations from where I sit, and it’s not because of Kei Igawa or Hideki Irabu. It’s the cultural adjustment, the adjustment to a tougher league, and perhaps most of all, the adjustment to pitching every five days. Darvish already has over 1,200 IP on his arm as well, a rather significant total. At the same time, we’re talking about a 25-year-old (two months younger than Phil Hughes) with ace upside, and those don’t come around very often.

I have no idea what kind of posting fee it’ll take to land Darvish’s negotiating rights, but I do think it’ll be smaller than the $51.1M it took for Dice-K. Not much smaller, but smaller. The contract is almost an afterthought, but we’re certainly talking about a four or five or more year package worth what? Definitely more than $20M since that’s what Igawa got, so perhaps $40M? We’re all just guessing at this point. I don’t think a $100M total investment (posting fee plus contract) is out of the question.  The Yankees are doing their due diligence and will surely be involved in the bidding (there’s no reason not to bid, right?), and I’m very interested in seeing how this plays out.

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Mother Nature tried to stop 'em, but Yanks beat O's anyway
Greg Bird named number two prospect in Cal Collegiate League
  • JohnC

    WOuldn’t it make more sense to invest less in a proven commodity like CJ Wilson than to risk another potential DiceK disaster(except for 1 year) or Igawa?

    • Ted Nelson

      There are also plenty of examples of big deals to proven MLB pitchers that didn’t work out.

      Certainly the transition from Japan to MLB has to be a big part of the equation, but I would try to evaluate Yu on his own merits and not just lump all Japanese pitchers together. Hiroki Kuroda is 36 and he doesn’t seem to have a problem with a 5 man rotation or getting MLB hitters out.

      • MannyGeee

        hell, I can think of 3 ‘big deals’ (for their time, at least) that the Yankees doled out in the past decade that fell flat… Pavano, Wright and AJ. that is just FA contracts, not including the trades that fell flat.

        meanwhile 4/6 of our current rotation is made up of guys who were homegrown or low risk depth moves. its a gamble no matter how you look at it…

  • http://www.thefatladyblog.com JoshTFL

    A while ago, I remember reading he was pumping fastballs to get out of trouble. Is that (still) accurate? If the Yanks can absorb the investment should it become Igawa’d, I don’t see why not but that posting fee is hard to swallow.

  • ADam

    I can see Randy Levine salivating over his guy and giving him a huge contract. I just see him doing this to avoid “embarrassment” I’d rather see them make a big trade for a top flight arm… than bring along another Japanese failure.. but well see maybe Cash steps in or Randy pulls another Jarred Wright/Raul Mondesi/R. Soriano move…. eek

    • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I demand satisfaction, sir.

      (And Levine may suck, but let’s not blame him for moves he didn’t even make. Pretty sure you were 1-3 there, at best.)

      • ADam

        Nope… He made the deal for Mondesi (See the book “Last night of the Yankees Dynasty”, He moved for Soriano and placed the call for Jarred Wright when Wright was golfing (NYTimes Artcle) feel free to search for it but it was reported sometime in March 2005…

        so 3-3, and still slugging

        • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Interesting, I stand corrected. I still don’t love blaming one guy for all those moves when surely there was someone(s) else involved (it’s not like Randy is some all-powerful entity that gets to sign players at will), but that’s enough for your 3-3. Keep slugging.

          Just watch it with the Mondesi crap.

          • jsbrendog

            fatty

            • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              It’s a vicious cycle.

          • ADam

            HA… I agree.. Cashman deserves some blame too for some bonehead moves… But I’d rather the baseball people make mistakes by taking risks than the non baseball people making mistakes by going after names…

            I’ll lay off of Rep. Mondesi for now

    • Ted Nelson

      “bring along another Japanese failure”

      That’s a huge assumption.

      “I’d rather see them make a big trade for a top flight arm…”

      You’d rather trade away Montero and a B than invest money that is not yours in what you xenophobicly deem a poor investment?

      • ADam

        Please let me know what Dice-K, Kei Igawa, Hideo Nomo, are doing right now…. If those arent failures, I’d love to know what your definition of success is.

        You also mention Montero.. which I didn’t… He’s an untouchable along with Banuelos and Nova there are plenty of attractive pieces in the system than can net another quality top of ration arm.

        Calling Kei Igawa a failure is not Xenophobic… It’s dead on… ease up on the hypersensitivity

        • Ted Nelson

          “Please let me know what Dice-K, Kei Igawa, Hideo Nomo, are doing right now…. If those arent failures, I’d love to know what your definition of success is.”

          Hideo Nomo accumulated 25.9 fWAR between 1995 and 2003… 21st among all MLB pitchers over that period. Calling him a bust tells me that you have no idea what you’re talking about. Just lumping all individuals of a certain race or nationality together doesn’t work.

          What do all those guys have in common? Their nationality. I can list hundreds and hundreds of white American busts… and that doesn’t mean that no while American is capable of playing MLB baseball. Kuroda is not a bust.

          “He’s an untouchable along with Banuelos and Nova there are plenty of attractive pieces in the system than can net another quality top of ration arm.”

          No there aren’t… besides the guys you mention there are Betances, Sanchez, and Romine… those are the only other top 100 type guys. The Yankees aren’t going to give up any really good prospects… but they’re going to get a top of the rotation starter?????? Good luck. It’s possible, but very unlikely. Especially with Sanchez giving up a million passed balls, Romine not improving his 2nd go-round in AA, and Betances walking every guy he faced. Please list comparable transactions if you think the Yankees are netting a front-end starter without giving up Montero or Banuelos.

          “Calling Kei Igawa a failure is not Xenophobic… It’s dead on… ease up on the hypersensitivity”

          You didn’t call Kei Igawa a bust. You labelled all Japanese pitchers failures not only historically but going forward. That’s xenophobic. Period. You ignore the Nomo’s (who you obviously are ignorant about), Kuroda, and others… you just lump all Japanese players together based on their nationality.

          • hogsmog

            “All the apples I’ve eaten so far are red; therefore, I conjecture that all apples are red”

            does not equal

            “All the apples I’ve eaten so far are red; therefore, I conjecture that an apple can be red.”

            The second is logically and scientifically valid. ADam isn’t being racist.

            • Ted Nelson

              I disagree that ADam is saying the second and not the first.

              His original post explicitly says that Yu Darvish will fail because he’s Japanese.

          • TomG

            Japanese pitchers have had mixed results in MLB, and the last two big name Japanese pitchers who were posted have turned out to be big liabilities. It’s not xenophobic to recognize the risk associated with the whole posting process, a phobia is an irrational fear.

            • Ted Nelson

              It is irrational to lump all individuals of a certain nationality together. Even more so when Yu is half Iranian.

              I recognize that Japanese pitchers have had mixed results. I also recognize that this does not mean all Japanese pitchers from here to eternity will be busts if/when they come to MLB and we should use their nationality instead of their scouting report to judge them. ADam states that Yu will necessarily be a bust because he’s from Japan, incorrectly stating that all other Japanese starting pitchers to play in MLB have been “busts.” This is irrational. It is not analyzing the past successes and failures of Japanese pitchers in the context of the difficult transition to a superior league, and then considering Yu’s individual chances of success based on this precedent and his own skills.

              • Ted Nelson

                I am not arguing against all people who say Yu might fail… so there is no need to pretend I am arguing that. I am specifically arguing against ADam’s points that all Japanese pitchers have been busts and Yu will necessarily be a bust because of his nationality. Those are points that ADam made. If you’d like to defend them, feel free. You are not actually defending ADam’s points, though, you are defending points that are similar to his points but not the points he made.

        • whozat

          Any deal for a quality, top of the rotation arm starts with Montero and a B. No one is trading those arms, and you will have to make a lopsided deal to force them to.

          • Rockdog

            This. Which makes Darvish interesting, even given the (huge) risks, in that all that you are giving up is money.

            • JAG

              Even more literally than in the sense that free agents like Wilson and Jackson cost “only money.” Darvish, being a posted player and not a former employee of an MLB team, is not subject to draft pick compensation. Darvish, despite the higher risk, will cost the Yankees literally only money, having no impact on their farm system at all, either by costing them current prospects or by stripping them of a draft pick.

              • JAG

                Didn’t realize my comment further down actually published, sorry for the double post.

              • craig

                Darvish will also require a cheaper contract in terms of length and AAV, which matters for Luxury Tax purposes.

        • Mike

          Nomo was not a failure. In his first 9 years in the majors, he averaged a 13-10 record in 199 IP with 200 k’s, a 107 ERA+, 2 no-no’s, and 2.8 WAR. He wasn’t great, but he was a solidly above average, #2/3 pitcher over his first 9 years, then he fell off quickly, but there was a lot of mileage on his arm.

          • Oscar Gamble’s Fro

            I hope everyone didn’t lose an IQ points reading Teddie’s asinine accusations of xenophobia in this thread. I mean, there’s dumb, there’s dumber, and there’s the purported xenophobia stuff that’s shamefully flying around in this thread.

            Embarrassing.

  • Colin

    I would imagine the posting fee plus contracts should come out to something like the 5 year 80-90 million dollar range that seems standard for pitchers these days (AJ, Lackey, Verlander, Weaver). So around 40 mil fee plus 5 years 40 million salary? Or do you think he’d get more?

    • MannyGeee

      I foresee a $40M posting fee with 5/60 as a contract. I think he can live up to a contract like that.

  • Mykey

    I would be interested if the price was right. But it never is.

    • Hardy

      Whom would you sign with the savings?

      • Mykey

        Meh, CJ Wilson interests me, but only vaguely honestly. I’m afraid of what kind of money it would take to sign him. Honestly, I don’t know who to sign. I don’t know if we necessarily have to sign anyone. Obviously we need upgrades, but I really don’t want to give out long term contracts to the wrong pitchers. I’m not totally against Darvish, Wilson or Jackson, but I’ll be crossing my fingers for reasonable contracts.

        • JAG

          Let’s keep in mind also that Darvish has less cost than even an MLB free agent b/c he isn’t subject to draft pick compensation. Wilson, Jackson, or any comparable pitcher would either cost the Yankees prospects or money plus a draft pick. Darvish literally costs only money to acquire, he is just slightly more of a risk.

  • JoeyA

    If we talk about the finances of this situation, the $$ coming back has to be discussed.

    The Yankees, with their strong ties to the Asian baseball market in the past, hasn’t had a star from Asia since Matsui, who brought in a tremendous amount of revenue.

    Darvish would represent the same amount of coverage and revenue from Asia. Ratings for games, “Darvish” Yankee jerseys, etc. etc.

    So while the posting fee and contract would be a lot, IMO the Yankees would get most, if not all, the posting fee back over the course of his 4-5 yr. contract.

    Just a thought.

    And this is my first time commenting to the blog. I typically visited Lohud Yankees, but that place is a
    circus. My name is Joe. I’m from NJ and live in Philly as a financial advisor w/ ING. I almost loathe the Phils as much as the Sux after living here for 3 years.

    • Mykey

      Heya Joe. Just thought I’d let you know that I too am from New Jersey and have lived in Philly for the past 3 years (junior in college) and loathe the Phils and Red Sox as well. Thought you’d want to know you were not alone.

      • Brian Paul

        I am an aerospace engineer working in Bucks County but living in Center City. Used to be out in San Francisco though. Huge Yankee fan tolerating Phillies propaganda here.

        • Alex Murphy

          And I am a crime-fighting Detroit cop who thinks Verlander’s arm has to be part machine.

      • Jimmy

        Wait a minute. Now that I think of it, I’ve never seen you two in the same place before……

        • Mykey

          That’s just a coincidence. You’re being paranoid. Right Joe?

          • Not Mykey

            Right!

          • JoeyA

            Right

    • Ted Nelson

      That’s definitely something that has got to be considered… I have no idea about the return on individual players outside of winning baseball games, but it’s certainly possible Yu is worth a premium over his on-field production as a potential marketing tool.

      • Cris Pengiuci

        And as the posting fee is not subject to the luxury tax, even if you can get Wilson for similar money, Yu is cheaper overall.

  • Hardy

    Because they don’t have to pay luxury tax on the posting fee, Darvish will be cheap realtive to other free agents for the Yankees.

    Personally I think the Yankees have the money so they should try to sign both CJ Wilson and Yu Darvish.

    • Ted Nelson

      Interesting point about luxury tax.

      It would not be the worst problem to have, but signing Wilson and Darvish while also re-signing CC would mean that you’ve got 4 starters making something like $70-85 million and only 5 spots going forward for CC, CJ, Yu, AJ, Nova, Hughes, Banuelos, and Betances (+ Noesi, Warren, Phelps, Brackman, etc.). Maybe you figure 5 of the 8 prime candidates are going to work out and you just absorb/trade the others… but it’s pretty questionable whether that’s an efficient allocation of resources.

      • Hardy

        Well, I think only six of these pitchers (CC, CJ, Yu, AJ, Nova, Hughes) are ready for 2012 and I believe that the Yankees should strive to have a six deep rotation at the start of the season.
        AJ will be gone after 2013 and might be done as early as mid-2012. And there is no rush to use Nova, Banuelos or Betances at the big laegue level.
        And right now I don’t see a better use for the resources. There is no obvious upgrade for the lineup or in the bullpen.

        • Ted Nelson

          I’m not saying you’re wrong or I necessarily disagree. I’m just saying that there’s a counter-argument. Especially with all the studs who may hit free agency after the 2012 season. If signing Yu and CJ limits your ability to sign Hamels and Cain… that might be a bad move. You might never have the chance to sign Hamels and Cain, so acting now might be the right move. I’m just saying that the Yankees have to consider not just 2012, but the future.

          “I think only six of these pitchers (CC, CJ, Yu, AJ, Nova, Hughes) are ready for 2012 and I believe that the Yankees should strive to have a six deep rotation at the start of the season.”

          CC, CJ, and Yu are all likely to have long-term contracts, though. A few years down the line when Hughes and Nova are starting to make some money the Yankees stand the risk of having Yu, CJ, and even CC potentially join A-Rod and maybe whoever else as dead-weight contracts. The Yankees have worked hard not to be in that position since at least 2008 or so.

          “there is no rush to use Nova, Banuelos or Betances at the big laegue level.”

          Nova’s already a pretty solid MLB starting pitcher making the league minimum. It’s possible you could get the same performance out of him as a Yu or CJ at a fraction of the price.
          Banuelos and Betances I’m more thinking about going forward. Having flexible spots at the end of the rotation they might earn.

          Again, too many good starting Ps is not a bad problem to have. Those resources could go into the Steinbrenners’ pockets, they could lower ticket prices, they could give them to charity, they could double or triple their amateur budget… lots of things they could do with them.

          • Hardy

            I think your points are basically all reasonable. For example, I too would rather have Hamels than either Wilson or Darvish.

            However, I do not agree with your argument that the Yankees have avoided possible dead-weight contracts during the last years. Jeter, Teixeira, Burnett and even the first CC contract had the potential to be awful for two or three years at the end.

  • CHOOCHOO

    I thanks my lucky stars that the Yankee players, coaches, and front office have a distinctly opposing point of view than the one expressed here about the importance of the remainder of the season.
    But then again, you probably know more about baseball than they do.

  • JoeyA

    Mykey,
    Thanks. There are 3 others in my office who are with us as well. We hated being here in 08 and LOVED being here in 09. I’m hating the idea of the Phillies back in the WS this year, but I can’t imagine who is going to stop them in the NL.

    It’s a constant struggle, but I remind most of my coworkers they didn’t know they had a baseball team from 95-05. City of fair-weather baseball fans.

  • http://RAB Nuke LaDoosh

    Yu Yu Yu, it’s always all about Yu. What about me ?

  • http://bloodfarm.tumblr.com mattdamonwayans

    I tend to be pretty level headed about most things in baseball, however, I think the Yankees should do whatever they can to make sure they get this guy. 100 million? Screw that! 200 million and a major league contract! Kei Igawa is finally coming off the books. Even if this kid blows up/can’t pitch, at least they tried to bring the best talent possible into the organization.

    • JoeyA

      and with players taking lesser deals earlier for stability, the financial advantage the Yankees have isn’t what is once was. Teams have recognized the importance of a true ace, or even #2, thus the Yankees having less chances to simply throw money at guys, and even that doesn’t work (see Cliff Lee).

      Darvish may be one of the few exceptions to this, as he has ace or #2 potential and half the investment isn’t taxed an additional 40% from luxury tax (something a previous poster has brought up). This situation is one in which the Yankees MUST flex their financial muscles bc they r one of a few teams with the ability to shell out a big posting fee/contract AND eat it is he sucks.

      • JoeyA

        *if

      • Ted Nelson

        “This situation is one in which the Yankees MUST flex their financial muscles”

        Could be a good opportunity if they see value in Yu, but I would hardly say “must.” They might feel CJ Wilson is a better investment. Or waiting for the 2013 stud class. Or just not see value in Yu even considering the luxury tax savings and feel more comfortable just rolling with CC, Nova, Hughes, AJ, Banuelos, Betances, Noesi, Warren, Phelps, Brackman, and any FA or trade acquisitions.

      • nolan

        also…they wont lose a draft pick right?

  • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    I find myself starting to warm up to the idea of going after Darvish. Obviously there’s a lot of risk there, but it’s only money (and while I like the Yanks to spend their money wisely, if they decide they have the cash for this then more power to them) and, perhaps more importantly to me, he apparently has the stuff to succeed and he’s young. You don’t pitchers Darvish’s caliber/age just sitting there for the picking too often.

    Considering that the Yanks don’t exactly have the 5 rotation spots locked down in the near future, I think this could make a lot of sense.

    • jsbrendog

      plus, if he totes bombs then at least you hope that by the end fo next year when it has become apparent that is the case one of the b’s is ready. and free agency!

  • JohnC

    Wonder if the Red Sox would be gun shy about investing in a Japanese pitcher again after DiceK or would they try and blow us out of the water again with an outrageous posting fee to ensure we don’t get him

    • MannyGeee

      I think the Sox will not go heavy handed on this deal, not because of Dice-K, rather because they have a relatively solid 1-4 rotation and a lot of other questions (RF, C, SS, the Papelbon saga) to answer…

      I think they might ‘limp in’ on the posting fee and see if Yu lands in their lap.

  • Andrew

    Yu makes sense for the Yankees, in a pitching starved market a possible top of the rotation arm, that costs 100 million ( 50 of which won’t cost against the luxury tax) and doesn’t require any prospects makes total sense. Now I completely understand the drawbacks, the history of foreign pitchers is not good, however I feel Yu is different although Dice-K was too. I remember when Dice-K came over he had that gyroball pitch which everyone raved about, which turned out to be nothing. I feel Yu has better pure stuff which is very important in making a transition to a better league. In regards to using the fastball to save himself, although it may not be ideal, if his ball has movement at that speed and he can locate it, that pitch is deadly. Pitching is about location and movement and of course mixing speeds but the ability to locate makes pitchers great, not saying Yu does that but if he can locate his fastball very well I have no problem with him using it a lot. Finally isn’t the Asian market thing overblown? I feel like after 09 the same discussion came up with Matsui and the income from sponsorships and TV ratings isn’t as great as everyone thought.

    • MannyGeee

      Finally isn’t the Asian market thing overblown? I feel like after 09 the same discussion came up with Matsui and the income from sponsorships and TV ratings isn’t as great as everyone thought.

      Yeah, I this has been covered ad nauseum. The Asian/’Yankee Legend’/Super Duperstar revenue never quite adds up to the money spent to bring them in.

      Darvish will fill the camera bullpen, thats for sure. the revenue, however? meh.

  • Dan

    I would think if this was a few years ago and George was running the team, it would almost be a certainty that Yu would end up here. With the brothers they seem to be a little less willing to crazy and overspend. I agree that they will be in on the bidding. I still think they will sign him because the Yankees remember all of the revenue that they generated from Matsui, and by signing a big-time Japanese player you are able to get a lot of money from Japanese fans here and in Japan. I would like to see them sign Yu, I think he is better than Dice-K and if you sign him for 4-5 years you should be able to get about two years of 15-20 wins, which very well could lead to two championships. Also, in the second year of that deal AJ will be coming off the books I believe and you can still use that money to go after one of the big free agents in the 2012-2013 class.

  • Guest

    How much more of a sure thing is Darvish than Banuelos? I think we’ve learned that stories of mystical dominance from Japanese pitchers, like many other pitching prospects, can be a tad overblown. Love that the focus with Darvish seems to be on the quantifiable effectiveness of his fastball rather than some “mystery pitch” that will utterly befuddle major leaguers. I’m not really going to buy anything about his secondary pitches until we seem him over here.

    So, what do we have in Darvish? It appears that he has a great fastball, is only 25, has secondary pitches (how good they are, again, we won’t know until we see them on a more consistent basis against major leaguers), has a ton of innings on his arm already, and isn’t used to pitching on five days rest.

    He certainly has huge upside potential…but should the Yanks really pay 100 million dollars for upside? I don’t think CJ Wilson is worth anywhere near 100 mill and he at least has had success in the majors in the AL.

    Banuelos has tons of upside too…and all he will cost is the league minimum. We still have Nova. We will almost certainly resign CC. AJ will be in the rotation. We still have Hughes. Who knows with FredBart. But most importantly, the epiphany free agent classes of 2012-2013 will likely mean at least a few elite young pitchers will be hitting the market soon.

    I say 100 million (after posting fee) isn’t worth it for someone who is essentially, despite his experience and talent, still just a prospect. Let’s go to war with what we have and see what shakes out on the free agency market in 2012-2013.

  • http://www.twitter.com/infernoscurse infernoscurse

    save the money , go after hamels – cain :D

    • Andrew

      Hamels more so than Cain. Cain pitchers in a pitchers park in a weak hitting division, still really good but his numbers look better because of certain factors. He is still a #2 though, I just think Hamels is better

      • pat

        Cain’s flyball #’s are scary.

      • Ted Nelson

        You have to actually show splits to convincingly show ballpark and division are a major factor. You can’t just say “this guy pitches in this park in this division so he’s good or bad.”

        Cain’s home/road splits are minimal. Glancing through his game logs this season… good games against the NL’s better teams and some real clunkers within the NL West, but a couple of bad games against the Brewers.

        I don’t know that the NL East is any tougher than the NL West, either… Diamondbacks and Rockies have scored more runs than any NL East team. Cain doesn’t get to face the Giants, who have scored the fewest runs in MLB this season.

        • Andrew

          He is a huge flyball pitcher in a very pitcher friendly ball park, and coming to the Yankee Stadium which is not a flyball pitchers paradise compared to other parks is something to be worried about. I was mistaken about the NL east vs West in regards to runs scored and for that i apologize, but the ball park issues are real, despite the home/road splits. I know that home road splits show the park may not play a factor but those road parks are not YSIII or Fenway. Yes Arizona and coors are hitter friendly but pitching a majority of games being played at YSIII with a Flyball pitcher is scary just saying.

          • Ted Nelson

            “He is a huge flyball pitcher in a very pitcher friendly ball park,”

            Yet he’s given up 0.34 HR/9 in PacBell and 0.40 HR/9 on the road… In 2010 he gave up 0.84 HR/9 in PacBell and 0.93 on the road. In 2009 he gave up 1.04 HR/9 in PacBell and 0.77 on the road. Career 0.71 HR/9 at home and 0.79 HR/9 on the road.

            My point is that instead of assuming that he’d give up more HRs in another park… you can actually look at how many HRs he’s given up in the roughly half his games that are not in PacBell. His numbers probably will get worse coming to the AL and pitching in YS. The question is how much worse, though. And how much worse compared to other options. To guesstimate that, I think it’s a lot more useful to look at how he’s done in other parks, in interleague, and how other (preferably similar) pitchers have made the adjustment than to just assume.

            “the ball park issues are real, despite the home/road splits.”

            I again don’t understand why you feel it’s better to just assume than to actually look at the available evidence. You might look at the evidence and come to the same conclusion… but let’s at least look at the evidence.

            “I know that home road splits show the park may not play a factor but those road parks are not YSIII or Fenway.”

            Coors is still the most hitter friendly park in baseball. Arizona is about equivalent to the Phillies home park. Being a lefty ground ball pitcher may help Hamels if he pitched in YSIII, but at the same time you’d still expect his numbers to get worse.

            I’d probably take Hamels too, off hand. I’m just saying I don’t feel comfortable simply looking at whether a guy gives up more flyballs or groundballs and what his home park is like to decide who to sign.

            • Andrew

              Evidence of Hamels over Cain, Hamels has better K/9, BB/9, and K/BB throughout their careers.

              • Ted Nelson

                I never argued for Cain over Hamels. I said that simply listing a guys home park, division, and GB/FB rate is not a very useful level of analysis.

                • Andrew

                  I know you never argued against hamels over cain, I was just giving evidence for everyone else to see. I completely agree with you that I needed to give evidence of my reasoning, so i posted some. I think we both agree we would prefer hamels but would take either one given the Yankees current rotation questions

        • Andrew

          Also to add to this, cain’s HR/FB rate as dipped dramatically this year. This could be explained by him entering his prime years, where an increase in performance would be expected, however a flyball pitcher dropping his HR/FB rate from 7.4% to 3.6% scares me a little especially if the dip is only one year, luckily there is another year before he hits the market to see if this is a fluke or a new trend

  • The Scout

    I prefer CJ Wilson, who has shown he can pitch successfully in the AL, including the post-season. Of course, there is a downside. With him, it may take a six-year deal, and the last three will probably produce far less on-the-field value than his salary. (Plus, Texas should make him a huge offer, since it is hard to see how the Rangers stay competitive without him.) As for Yu, we really have no idea what we would get. The transition issues are significant; he’s already racked up a lot of innings. My guess is the Yankees will be in on both of them this off-season, in the hope of landing one. The organization has a clear preference for spending money to acquire front-line players rather than trading its young talent.

    • Hot Dong

      This. And he’s a lefty in Yankee Stadium.

  • chris

    Even after the Igawa mess, some teams STILL wanted him. If they can get him for a resonable deal he might be used as trade bait to try and get someone that will hit the trading block in 12-13. How many 3-4th starters do you need?

  • Reggie C.

    If the Yankee FO is indeed pursuing a rein in of the budget then paying Darvish instead of Wilson fits that approach. The posting fee is a sunk cost and doesn’t figure into the salary cap penalty calculus. Considering the rumor mill spinning out 80-90 million figures for Wilson’s upcoming contract talks, a 40-50 million contract for Darvish is simply more palatable.

    I’m not saying its the right approach, and specifically I groaned at reading the innings thrown Darvish has racked up. The FO wouldn’t break the bank and still possibly be in play after the 2012 season if Greinke is available. I wouldn’t be surprised if AJ has pitched himself into a bullpen role by then opening up another spot.

  • crawdaddie

    CJ Wilson might pull a Cliff Lee so I can see the Yankees looking hard at Darvish. One thing to notice, is how many different Yankee scouts have watched him in comparison to Igawa and even Irabu. The Yankees are really cross-checking him and they have Eppler looking at him multiple times to track what he is seeing in Darvish.

  • Dave

    Anyone have any info on studies, or anything else on the size of the ball and how that effects pitchers going from Japan to the US? It seems that many pitchers from Japan struggle here with control. I wonder if it has anything to do with the actual size of the baseball?

  • MannyGeee

    One thing worth mentioning about the Yu vs DiceK arguement. Darvish is FAR AND AWAY in better shape than DiceK was coming over.

    Of course Cody Ransom is in phenominal shape too (as you can see on YouTube by jumping on boxes), and you see how that works out.

  • nsalem

    I think much of what we do this offseason (as probably with every year) will be pendent on the outcome of this season. The poorer the playoff performance may result in upper echelon meddling. A ring may just leave it in the hands of Cashman (if he is still here). This is an subjective opinion on what may happen not an endorsement of such a strategy.

  • moose

    i think this guy will be a mistake….however i do think the dice-k purchase (which also ended up netting okajima) was the 2nd biggest reason (second to having the best roid hitters of the era on their team) that the red sox won that second WS. But all these japanese guys flame out in the end, and the yankees chose so poorly with igawa, that i cant justify them spending the money on this guy. If they have 90 to spend, and thats all it took to grab a guy like CJ wilson, i’ll take the proven lefty.

  • http://none Favrest

    These little Japanese dudes simply aren’t successful here over the long haul. There is enough in the system to acquire a strong top flight pitcher, but Cashman is so in love with his system that he never wants to give up anything. So, we sit on our hands, and Santana, Halladay & Lee pass us by. Sure Santana is hurt, but so is Joba, and Hughes is nothing close to his press clippings. Hopefully, since theyve kept Jesus he gets a chance to do what Jesus should do. Save us.

    • Andrew

      Lee and Santana are bad examples considering Santana is hurt so not pulling the trigger there was the right call in hindsight, and Lee spurned the yankees once on the open market, and there was a trade in place for him last year before the seattle GM went with the Texas offer he wanted all along

    • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “These little Japanese dudes simply aren’t successful here over the long haul.”

      6’5″, 220 lbs.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        …and I believe he’s not even fully Japanese. His father is Iranian or something.

      • Ted Nelson

        Why consider the facts when you can be a flaming xenophobe?

        All Japanese people are small–Irabu = 6’4″ 240, Nomo = 6’2″ 210…–and small pitchers suck–Koufax, Pedro, Glavine… those guys were terrible.

        • http://twitter.com/johnSC2000 JohnnyC

          Agree with your point but Koufax was 6’2″ and 210.

          • Ted Nelson

            Good point. I don’t know why I was thinking he was small. Maybe was thinking historical lefty and confusing him with Whitey Ford as a small guy.

        • the Other Steve S.

          Yeah, Koufax wasn’t too small. Maybe he was really Japanese.

          Sanford Koufax (The Left Arm of God)
          born Sanford Braun

          Position: Pitcher
          Bats: Right, Throws: Left
          Height: 6′ 2″, Weight: 210 lb.

    • Dave

      if they traded for Lee they would have less in the system and no Lee. Not getting him was great looking back at it.

    • SDM

      Darvish is 6’5 and half-iranian

  • Frank

    First red flag for me- he reportedly “bulked up” from 185 to 220. How long did it take him to put on these 35 lbs.?

    • SDM

      not long because he was apparently at 198 last year, and 22 lbs is not difficult to do in a 6 month off season

  • Hot Dong

    And yet even that 2013 free agent class is like a bunch of foreclosed houses – every one has a question mark, some small (Cain, Marcum) and some much bigger (Peavy, Greinke). Haren is the only surefire, but they have a manageable option ($15.5M), and the Yankees already had their shot at him.

    • jon

      you gotta wonder how many will be locked up by then too

      in a perfect world we dont sign any of them because cc, yu, hughes, and 2 of 3 Bs are all pitching like aces

  • Bavarian Yankee

    we have the money, we need starting pitching, we do this!

    it’s ridiculous that some people just don’t want pitchers from Japan because some of them didn’t work out as planned and may miss out on a guy that can stick in the rotation for a decade.

    Seems like we shouldn’t sign anybody anymore because there also Lackeys, Burnetts, Pavanos etc. out there, so the “proven” pitchers aren’t much more reliable.

    Plus comparing Dice-K and Darvish is just weird. To me it’s like comparing Halladay and Burnett, a complete package and a reliable workhorse vs. a K-guy that has questionable command, average secondary pitches and questionable health. Darvish is straight up a better pitcher and Dice-K had some flaws when he pitched in Japan.

    btw: people often forget about guys like Kuroda that are even better here than they were in Japan.

    I prefer Darvish over Wilson.

    • jon

      i like yu better than wilson too

      they both will cost 80-100m but at least half of that wont count against lux tax with yu

  • Prince of Persia

    For the xenophobes out there:
    You know that Darvish is half Iranian, right? Perhaps the Yankees are trying to get a jump on the emerging market for baseball in gulf oil states?

  • UncleArgyle

    I’d throw some cash at Yu but wouldn’t go crazy. Something like a Posting Bid of around $40-45, and if awarded the post I’d offer a contract of something like 4 years 30 mil.

  • Jonathan

    I say forget Darvish. Do as Mike said and get a stopgap along with obviously re-signing CC. Perhaps Liriano could be had on the cheap prospect wise. As much as we (MSM) like to think the Yankees have unlimited money, they don’t. Let’s not forget us not getting Mike Cameron when Melky/Gardner were a hole in CF for 2009. Now we all forget that because of the WS but that was a we won’t spend more money move. If you get the stopgap (Carpenter/Dempster should be cheap in prospects with that salary and maybe we hit paydirt with Liriano), you’re looking at a rotation of CC/Dempenteriano/Nova and then see what you get out of Hughes and AJ with ManBan and Betances on the way for the 2nd half and Noesi/Warren/Phelps etc while seeing what becomes available. That’s a better rotation than this year most likely.

    Then in 2013 you get Hamels and take your choice for the 2nd guy (mine is Greinke but we all know that isn’t happening) and Kemp. Let’s not forget we’ll need to re-sign Mariano or another closer if we don’t have one in waiting and extend Cano/Grandy soon plus however many million we blow on LOOGYs by then. You’re looking at a rotation of:

    CC/Hamels/2nd FA guy/Nova/Hughes or AJ or Banuelos or Dellin or Noesi or etc etc etc

    C Montero
    1B Tex
    2B Cano
    SS Jeter
    3B ARod
    LF Gardner
    CF Granderson
    RF Kemp

    I’m not worried about or bullpen, but I was like 8 the last time Mo wasn’t apart of it so I don’t know how to worry about it, but that looks like a ridiculous team. Maybe by then Jeter/ARod can’t play the field and we trade our SP surplus for a SS/3B. David Wright and Stephen Drew are possible FA. I think we just have to hold on until 2013 and just spend the money. The last time Cashman waited for a certain FA class we ended up with CC and Granderson a year later for Kennedy who was likely to have been in a Santana deal. We can do the same thing. Sign a stud or two FA SP, evaluate our prospects and deal some of them if we need help in other areas. Who knows who will get hurt or what we’ll need or who will sign an extension or what prospect will come out of nowhere. But if we can get a reasonable stopgap, that 2013 FA class looks like it’s incredible. Add in an already impressive nucleus and a farm system about to give us more than since the 90s and I’d be voting a 10 in the confidence poll every single time.

    • Jonathan

      Oh and by the way, Hamels would be the oldest between him/Greinke/Kemp at the ripe old age of 29…..Plus Cain/Danks/Liriano and the old guy Marcum at 31. And just for laughs…Mariano at 43. I’m not betting against him pitching another 3-5 years. As long as he keeps his command the guy could lose several more MPH before it even becomes a concern. And he was throwing 94 vs Boston last week. I think it depends on how long he wants to stay around and of course injuries to his arm.

      • Dave

        No way the Phillies let Hamels go. Not at the age Lee will be by his FA year. They need to retain some young pitching.

  • SDM

    You can make arguments for and against Darvish, my feelings are he’s worth looking into.

    Things that worry me

    -going from 7 rotation to a 5 day rotation

    -Mileage on his arm

    -price

    Things that make me think

    -age
    -velocity of his pitches
    -he doesn’t nibble at the strike zone and seems to like attacking the batter (something Daisuke seems to hate doing)
    -his physical build Darvish has a perfect pitchers frame tall and strong he’s not tubby looking like Daisuke, or Irabu.

  • YankeesJunkie

    $100 million dollars total for what is essentially a AAA/AAAA player who in addition has to get used to throwing every 5 days instead of 7 is too big of a risk.

  • Bronx Byte

    Matsui will tell him that he’ll love NYC.

    Matsuzaka will tell him to avoid Boston. The fans are too silly and naive.

  • Guns of the Navarone

    I think age is the biggest factor as to why I would support this move. You simply can’t keep signing pitchers over 30 to long-term deals and expect to have success. I like adding a young pitcher to the mix. The fact that he’s only 25 intrigues me.

    He’s a big guy with a pitcher’s build, he’s been a horse, and his K/BB numbers have been great. 95+ velocity with good command and three offspeed pitches will play anywhere. Darvish would add some amazing young depth and upside to the rotation and would provide a backup plan should Hughes/Nova not turn into the pitchers the Yankees expect, which is entirely possible.

    And again, given his age, you can afford to wait on that upside if there is indeed an adjustment period. He could be a great pitcher for years to come. If the Yankees don’t feel he’s the # 2 they’re looking for, they can go all in for a pitcher after 2012. And hopefully by then Hughes/Nova/Banuelos have shown they can be mid to top-of-the-rotation staples for years to come.

    CC, Hamels/Cain (don’t care about the FB % personally), Yu, Hughes, Banuelos. That’s a nice little rotation right there. Where’s AJ?? Who cares.

  • David, Jr.

    This is often discussed in either/or terms. Either Darvish or a free agent like Wilson.

    It is also possible that it will turn out much like it did at this year’s deadline, meaning that they have enough confidence in what they have to stand with that. Of course that depends upon retaining CC, but it could look something like this:

    CC – Stacks up against anybody.
    Nova – Anybody afraid of facing Wilson with him? I’m not.
    Hughes – Certainly a question mark, but could easily be a good #3 by next year.
    Burnett – Not ideal, but check out the #4 starters in the league.
    Banuelos, Warren, Betances, Phelps – opportunity knocks for a player that wins the #5 spot. Also, two of them could make it, knocking out Burnett. !

    • Dan

      I think if they win the World Series, there is a chance that this happens. I would almost prefer this just because it would allow them to save money for a better free agent class and even if those players get locked up the Yankees have so many players close to being ready that one or two of them should be able to stick and perform pretty well. Also, for next year, it could definitely be possible to give Garcia or Colon another one year deal as insurance for Burnett and the pitchers in the minors.

    • Ted Nelson

      This is a good point. Wilson and Darvish (and Jackson and whoever else) have to be evaluated on their own merits as well as against each other and the team needs. If the Yankees think, for example, Wilson is worth 5 years $80 mill at maximum and he has an offer for 6 years $120 mill (obviously more complex with Yu between posting fee and salary)… they might back away even though they really want the guy. Having solid internal depth plus the ability to look for one-year or even half-season stop gaps is a nice fall-back plan.

      • David, Jr.

        It is a great position to be in, perfectly illustrated by the Ubaldo trade possibility.

        Instead of maybe overreaching, which had to be tempting, they stood with what they had. They are so strong that despite not getting Ubaldo they could win 100 games, and Vegas now has them as the second favorite to win the World Series.

        • Ted Nelson

          Agreed. The only difference between these guys and Ubaldo, though, is that with Ubaldo they were protecting top prospects close to the majors vs. just money and a draft pick with Wilson. Since they are the Yankees, I don’t mind seeing them go out and risk money as much as top prospects close to the majors.

          • Ted Nelson

            Not saying I want to prospect hug… just that I find the money less valuable than the prospects since the Yankees have a lot of money… and keeping the prospects theoretically allows them to spend some more short-term money on studs while some of the indentured servant prospects become young contributors.

            Also not that I want to spend a ton of money and end up with a bunch of AJ Burnett’s or Carl Pavano’s or Jaret Wright’s… it’s a balance definitely.

  • AnthonyD

    Imagine Darvish and Montero battling for ROY next year the way M&M battled for the HR title in 61 and Mattingly and Winnie for the batting title in (I forget)? The fans behind the home grown talent Monty and moronically / ironically-racist-ally booing Darvish – the “hired gun”.

  • a.hinds

    COMMAND>STUFF

    if you were for going after ubaldo jimenez you’ve got to be down for darvish right. the yankees are not giving up anything but money. and honestly its not my money, yeah i now pay 75 bucks for seats… but were winners! he would make this team a ton of fucking money. and as a half asian… im rooting for him not matter what. his starts a must watch. so what if they spend 100 million dollars.

    besides if the yankees are going after this kid.. they must see something they like, and hopefully have done their due diligence… if he is a bust. trade him.. give him a chance to succeed elsewhere… ala jose contreres,

    i dont understand why some fans care about the yankees payroll. isnt it more than obvious that this team has limitless money. isnt that the whole point of the YE$ network? and im not anti capitalist, just saying the team has the money to blow.

    and why do fans automatically assume that the yankees can net any baseball player they want? shit happens its not a forgone conclusion that you take the most money every time… these people are already multi-millionaires, it might not be all about the money… this day’s free agents are taking other things into consideration that how good a cities schools system is.

    and is cervelli a starting catcher somewhere else?
    and how come when timmy tim jam dominates the nl west he’s a god but when ian kennedy does we say he could never do it hear. that annoys me to no end. its not always about stuff. some of it has to with whats between the ears too. after watching cliff lee multiple times, im convinced that he just concentrates more than anyone else in the fucking world. its command in the zone but thats about his brains no?

    with that in mind… ive not heard or read about how good/not good Yu’s command is… shouldnt that be the first thing we’re asking about? we see whats going on with A.J….

    COMMAND>STUFF

  • Holy Ghost

    I like CJ Wilson. He’s a lefty and #2 starter on most MLB teams. He will most likely be overpaid after this season but its not my money and the Yanks can afford it. Afterall, they overpaid for Burnett and arguably overpaid for CC.

    After, Irabu, Igawa, and Dice-K, I think it makes more sense for the Yanks to go after a proven MLB pitcher.

  • Dan

    I think a big difference with Dice-K and Darvish is Dice-K came over throwing a 100 kinds of pitches trying to be greg maddux and confuse batters and nibble when he really was just walking 6 a game. His first few years of getting out of bases loaded jams every inning was an abberation and it finally caught up with him. Darvish seems to be more of a Lincecum ‘get 0-2 on him and drop a hammer’ power pitcher. (in my very amateur opin)

    Also with all the “xenophobia” crap, stop it. It has nothing to do with him BEING Japanese or Iranian or from Neptune. Japanese baseball has slight differences- according to Wiki (take it with as much salt as you will…) :

    “technical elements are slightly different: a smaller baseball, strike zone, and playing field are used. The Japanese baseball is wound more tightly and is harder than an American baseball. The strike zone is narrower “inside” than away from the batter. Also, five Nippon league teams have undersized home fields. A controversial rule also allows a team to have no more than four foreign players, limiting the cost and competition for expensive players of other nationalities”

    What’s the difference between a great slider and a hanger? Tiny changes have massive impact on baseball which is what makes it such a great game. Like it or not those are realistic adjustments that need to be made. With that said, it sounds like Yu has enough talent to be successful, just don’t expect a 250 IP of 1.55 ERA in 2012, that’s all.

    • Ted Nelson

      “Also with all the “xenophobia” crap, stop it.”

      I don’t really understand what this comment means or who it’s directed towards (people being racist or people calling them out), but let me explain myself in case it’s directed at me.

      I have no problem with people recognizing the differences between MLB and Japan. What I have a problem with is deciding that every single Japanese pitcher has been (when there are clear examples to the contrary) or will be a bust simply because they are Japanese. What I would like to see people doing is actually analyzing Yu as a pitcher, rather than lumping all Japanese pitchers together. Your analysis of Dice-K vs. Yu is a perfect example. Other people are saying Yu’s a Jap, Dice-K’s a Jap… they’re the same and have the same chances of succeeding. You are saying… hmmm… Dice-K never averaged above 92 with his FB as an MLB pitcher, he has thrown only about 53% FBs in MLB, he walks a ton of guys, etc… maybe these guys aren’t exactly the same even though they share the same nationality after all. Just like Tim Wakefield and Roger Clemens and Brad Penny are all white American males… but that does not mean they’re all the same guy with the same chances of succeeding.

      • MikeD

        It’s not a question of if Japanese pitchers can make it on the MLB level. They have shown they can, and if the Yankees signed Yu to a four-year contract, and he gave them years equivalent to the first three years that Nomo gave the Dodgers, Yankee fans would be quite happy.

        It’s a matter of adjusting the hype to reality. Irabu was the Japanese Nolan Ryan. He wasn’t. He threw 92-94 mph, not 100-105. Dice-K was the greatest pitcher in the world, and would contend for the Cy Young Award if first season. Nonsense. The hype around Darvish has been incredible, although thankfully it seems to have pulled back some over the past year. It doesn’t mean it won’t return if he’s posted.

        No matter what will be written, he is not the best pitcher in the world. He will enter MLB and not even be one of the twenty best pitchers, not when people named Halladay, Sabathia, Lee, King Felix, Lincecum, Lester, Greinke, Verlander, Weaver, Johnson, Hamels, Kershaw, Price, Beckett, Santana, Haren, Oswalt, Shields, Cain, Marcum, etc. have all pitched at a high level against the best players in the world. Darvish will be a rookie tryingn to compete against the best.

        It doesn’t mean he can’t join the best, but if he managed to pitch to a level where he was in the next group of twenty that would be a major success, and even that would not be a given. In MLB, he’d be entering the most competitive baseball league in the world, and if he signed with the Yankees, he’d be entering the stronger of the two leagues and the most difficult division. He’s going to have to pitch every fifth day, he will use different-sized baseballs, his velocity will be lower than whatever is being reported. He will probably have some difficulty commanding his breaking pitches. The strizezone will be slightly different. He will need to make changes, and the fact he’s already 25 and has pitched 1,200 successful innings in a professional league may actually work against him depending on his willingness to make changes.

        Anyone comparing him to Igawa idoesn’t know what they’re talking about. After the Yankees lost out on Dice-K, George pretty much forced the organization into the move. All the scouting reports indicated he was at best a back-end starter who would be better off in the NL and would have problems in the AL East, especially since he was already shown signs of velocity loss in Japan.

        I’d like to see Darvish. I just don’t know if he can be expected to be a number two starter his first year. Maybe, but not guarantee. The Yankees will have to weigh how much money they want to risk here. For a team that seems unwilling to find another two or three million for the amateur draft, I wonder if they’ll be willing to invest $90 million for a player who has never thrown a MLB pitch.

        It’ll be interesting.

        • Ted Nelson

          I have been addressing specific commenters who have literally said that no Japanese pitcher has not been a bust and implied that Yu will also be a bust because he’s Japanese. I agree with a lot of your points… however, you are not echoing the commenters I disagreed with. You are largely making a distinct argument.

          I think you even go a little too far in suggesting that he’ll have a hard time transitioning. It’s really tough to be a top, top, top MLB pitcher. Absolutely. I disagree, though, that just because certain guys have been good in MLB before they will be better than Yu in 2012. There’s a good amount of year to year variability for all but the very, very best MLB pitchers. This seasons’ top 5, 10, 20 Cy Young candidates might not be next seasons’. Successful Japanese MLB starting pitchers haven’t necessarily had rough 1st year adjustments historically, either. Nomo and Dice-K had their highest fWARs as rookies and Kuroda his 2nd highest to date.

          I never, ever, ever said that there isn’t a lot of risk with Yu. What I’ve argued is to judge him on his own merits. Not to say that just because he’s Japanese x, y, or z will happen.

  • parmesan

    Want this guy so bad. He’s going to be a total stud. Hell, he already is a total stud. NPB AAAA blah blah blah. I don’t care about the quality of competition in Japan, this guy has been making professionals look like 5th graders for going on 5 years now. STUD.

    Would have been nice to see a breakdown of his numbers here and a little more statistical insight. The mileage on his arm is mentioned, but he’s averaged right around 200 IP or less as a pro, which isn’t anything crazy at all.

  • Now Batting

    A 25 year old that can pump it up to 97? A posting fee that doesn’t count towards the luxury tax? Signing him to a relatively cheap contract for a SP? Why the hell wouldn’t you want him? Just don’t assume he will go ahead and slot right in behind CC.

  • I

    Darvish’s twitter
    http://twitter.com/#!/faridyu

    I don’t think his personality (not a bad guy, but…) can fit with the yankee. Especially after igawa’s case.

  • Nhat

    I wonder if Mike has posted any analysis of Yu’s pitch compared to previous Japanese pitcher.

    I am staying in Japan for many years, I know that Matsuzaka relied on his fastball to get batter out, while Uehara and Kuroda have a good command and can be successfull in Major.

    Stats of Yu in NPB are better than Matsuzaka but not much.

    Is there any stats of flyball/groundball, second pitch of Yu compared to Uehara and Kuroda?

  • cranky

    Darvish is quite different from ALL of the other pitchers who have come over–or who have tried to come over–from Japan.
    First off, his heritage is different. He’s mixed race, which is more of a rarity in Japan, to begin with and, in Darvish’s case, downright exotic. Persian Japanese. I’ve got no idea what that might mean for a ML ballplayer, since there’s no precedent, but it IS interesting, and different from all the others who’ve come over here.
    Second, his size. He’s a big boy. 6’5 and 220 pounds, he has the naturally lean frame you see on most Japanese ballplayers, but he’s got a lot more height than most. (Hideki Irabu was tall, at 6’4, but he had a soft body.)
    Third, his stats. The others really don’t compare. He’s been the most dominant pitcher in the history of Japanese baseball. I wouldn’t say this makes him a “sure thing.” But I’d put his chances of being successful in the big leagues as AT LEAST as good as that of Dice-K and Hideo Nomo, and he has a better body, more height, and more fastball than either of those guys–and he’s thrown fewer innings.

    I can’t see the Yankees NOT bidding on this guy. He’s probably one of the best pitchers on earth right now.

  • Mark

    Just out of curiosity but in the video linked why was he pitching the whole inning out of the stretch with no one on base??

  • Angel

    I have to agree with one of your writers. The Yankees have had success with homegrown talent; Pettitte, Mariano, Robertson, Hughes and Joba (pre-experiment). Yet the Yankees seem poised to grab other team garbage. In the minor they have some studs; Bonuelos, Betances, Noesi, among others. Let’s give them a chance.

  • stickmichaelisagenius

    First off, comparing this guy to Igawa is like comparing me (Igawa) to Manny Pacquiao (Darvish). This guy WILL BE the Ichiro of pitching IF he comes here. He doesn’t want to come to the states because he is half Iranian. And then if he comes, would he want to play for us? Other players are balking at playing for the Yankees.

    • Walagambahu

      Hi

      Many Many wrong assumptions in your reply.

      1, Darvish wants to play in MLB. He has repeatedly expressed his desire to play in the US

      2 Igawa was a dominating pitcher during his days. Llike darvish, he lead his League in strike outs in many years. And he pitched at a time where Japanese batters were better and balls were easier to hit (now they are using a ball that doesn’t travel much means favouring Pitchers).

      3 Darvish is NOT even the best pitcher this year, he doesnt lead in ERA, That would go to young Tanaka of Tohoku Rakuten.
      Ichiro always lead batting avg for his league.

  • Walagambahu

    As some who has been following Japanese baseball League for more than 10 years let me phrase this as follows,

    Any one who thinks Darvish can replicate his 2011 performance in MLB is a plain idiot.

    Why ?
    1 Japanese Hitters suck so much this year that there are hardly any player with more than .300 avg in both leagues. except for one slugger others are hardly hitting any HRs. Lotte which had 7 players with more than 10HRs last year HAVE NONE THIS YEAR.

    Reason:
    1 the BALL. They are using a different ball which is harder to travel in the air, compare to previous yrs. Not only that new BALL would give an advantage to the pitchers who have good sliders/splitters.

    2 the Hitters: Over the years I have sadly noticed the decline of Japanese hitters.

    Darvish has a fast ball which repeatedly clocks 150 Kmh, and that is rare in Japan. Not many pitchers have that. So obviously he has the ability to trouble batter.

    But do you really think Darvish would have the same success in MLB with his Baseball ? I say NO NO & NO.