Oct
19

Why Darvish makes sense for the Yankees

By

It appears that the free agent starting pitcher market will gain one more member. While C.J. Wilson appears to head the class currently, we’ve long heard that Japanese phenom Yu Darvish could go through the posting process and head stateside this winter. According to Kyodo News, via JapanBall.com, Darvish plans to ask his team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, to post him after his season ends early next month. A team source says that Nippon Ham will grant the request should Darvish officially make it. Darvish has since denied the report, but he has every reason to do so. Again, his season is not over, as the Fighters still have the Climax Series ahead of them, and perhaps the Japan Series.

At this point it’s difficult to determine exactly how interested the Yankees are in Darvish’s services. As Moshe Mandel wrote on Monday, it’s tough to believe what anyone says regarding Darvish. The blind posting system lends itself to misinformation campaigns. If the Yankees truly are interested, they have no reason to broadcast that fact. They’ll certainly put in a bid, even if it’s only to drive up the price by feigning interest. It’s the aggressiveness of the bid that’s in question.

Yesterday on The Yankee Analysts, David P of Yankees Source provided first-hand scouting information on Darvish. It’s worth the full read, since it reveals information we likely won’t see anywhere else. My two main takeaways: 1) Though he’s an established star in Japan, to an MLB team he’s really a top-tier prospect, and 2) he’s already answered a number of challenges in his career. Again, the entire article gets RAB’s highest level recommendation.

Now that you’re more familiar with Darvish himself, let’s place him in the context of the Yankees needs and resources. Obviously they’ll hunt for pitching this off-season. Even if they bring back CC Sabathia they could certainly use another arm atop their rotation. C.J. Wilson is the only other realistic possibility on the free agent market, and he’d likely cost the Yankees in the $100 million neighborhood (I’d still consider 5/90 the most likely case). He’ll also cost the Yankees a first-round draft pick in 2012, making for the second straight first rounder they’ll have lost. That’s usually a worthy sacrifice for a top-flight pitcher. But the Yankees might do better with Darvish.

For starters, the posting system provides the Yankees a huge advantage. That’s straight money, with no luxury tax or payroll implications attached. If they want to pull a Red Sox and plunk down a $50 million bid, they can do that with no additional penalty. As we saw with Daisuke Matsuzaka, the ensuing contract likely won’t come near the deal that Wilson will eventually sign. That means a lower overall payroll, which allows the Yankees more resources to fill out other roster spots. At this point we can loop back to David’s scouting report and see that there’s a chance that Darvish is straight better than Wilson. Baseball provides little in the way of guarantees. A smart gamble can make all the difference, and it appears that Darvish could be that smart gamble.

At the same time, a smart gamble is still a gamble. Darvish faces many challenges when coming to the US. All around the baseball world, from reporters to fans, I’ve seen the sentiment that the Kei Igawa experience has scared off the Yankees from Japanese pitchers. Few have had long-term success, and two of the most recent transitions, Matsuzaka and Igawa, have flopped badly. Even more recently, Kenshin Kawakami spent his second American baseball season in AA, while Koji Uehara had to make a bullpen transition. But at the same time, we don’t exactly have a long track record of Japanese pitchers to judge. Only 37 Japanese-born players have ever pitched an inning in the majors, and only 14 have topped even 200 career innings. Narrowing the field further, only six have made 100 or more career starts, and only one has made more than 200 starts.

Part of the narrative explaining Japanese pitchers’ relative lack of success is the wholesale changes they face when coming to the States. Culture shock is but one aspect. A change in routine might be more important. Japanese pitchers throw once a week and spend their days training for that routine. It takes a complete change in routine and training regiment to pitch on the MLB five-day schedule. Many pitchers cannot make that adjustment — Matsuzaka, reportedly, would not change his routine despite the different environment. But I refer to the second takeaway from David’s post. Darvish has already answered a number of challenges in his career. It gives me more faith that he can successfully transition to MLB.

The Yankees’ most abundant asset is their capital. Their win-now, win-always management style means draft picks become scarce. That style can also lead to an out-of-hand payroll. With Darvish the Yankees have a perfect opportunity. They can add a potential star — a young potential star — using only their most abundant resource. They also avoid payroll bloat, since Darvish’s contract figures to come in much lower than Wilson’s. There are risks involved, for sure. While there are indications that Darvish can handle the transition, there is no guarantee. There’s also no guarantee that his stuff plays up in the majors. But there are no guarantees with Wilson, either. It’s not an either-or, in that the Yankees can decline to pursue both. But if they do want to add a top-flight starter to the rotation, Darvish could be the man. He fits their M.O. perfectly.

Categories : Pitching
  • Joe

    I thought it was the Nippon HAM FIGHTERS

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      I thought the first name was the company….Nippon Ham, and the last is the nickname ….Fighters.

      • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

        It is, but I (and many others I think) always refer to them as the Ham Fighters because that’s just so much more awesome.

        Really wish this was their logo.

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona

          Can you imagine if the US teams sold their name rights? The Yankees would kill it. Exxon/Mobil Yankees and the KFC Red Sox (obligatory)

          • Tom O

            Nintendo already owns the Mariners, no joke.

            • radnom

              Which allowed them to use Griffey for this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K.....s_Slugfest

              Good times back on the N64.

            • JCK

              And Disney used to own the Angels, and the New York Times used to own part of the Red Sox, and the Tribune Co. used to own the Cubs, and Rogers Communications owns the Blue Jays, and Liberty Media owns the Braves (used to be AOL-TimeWarner), and News Corp. used to own the Dodgers…

              Corporate ownership is nothing new. :)

          • CP

            Wasn’t it was Popeye’s, not KFC?

            • Andy In Sunny Daytona

              KFC has more cache.

            • James

              Nice one CP!

              • gus fring

                why not Los Pollos Hermanos

                • Nick

                  Breaking Badddd

        • hamfightersfan

          I agree AGS. I always thought of them as the Ham Fighters, and then I found out their real name and was sad. Ham Fighters is a much better name.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    It will be interesting to see what the front office will decide if it comes down between Darvish and Wilson. George would have just went out and tried to get both. I just wonder if Cashman is a Yu or CJ supporter, because I’m sure Levine will have the opposite opinion of C$.

    • Rainbow Connection

      George was a damned idiot.

      • ND Mike

        Levine is a bigger damn idiot.

    • Amuro

      The Yankee brass would probably favor Yu just from the standpoint of marketing. Also, I don’t think Cashman ever was that enamored with Japanese players to begin with. The Kei Igawa signing was a total reactionary move by the Steinbrenner’s to counter the Sox getting Dice-K.

  • Adam

    After reading this and the Yankee Analysts article yesterday I’m starting to warm up to going after Darvish. In particular, David P’s article provides some important distinctions between Davrish and Dice-K’s careers in Japan such as his innings pitched, build and so forth that really make Yu’s chances for success higher than I initially thought. Compared to what you’d have to pay for CJ Wilson a guy with only two years as a starter and not possessing great control but we’d have to pay at least what we pay AJ, I say its looks like it would be worth the risk.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

    Another consideration with Japanese pitchers is age. Both Uehara and Kawakami are 36 years old, and of the eight Japanese pitchers in the Majors this year (not including Kawakami, who wasn’t in the Majors), only three–Igarashi, Matsuzaka, and Tazawa–were younger than 35, and only Tazawa was younger than 30.

  • UncleArgyle

    The question isn’t “will the Yankees bid on Darvish” but “How much will the Yankees bid for Darvish”. I think a $55 million posting bid carries the day, but are the Yanks willing to spend that much just to negotiate?

    • S

      here’s how I look at it:

      anything less than $30 mil; your just wasting people’s time

      30-45 mil; your in a tight race

      46+ mil; congratulations you now have yourself a 6’5, 24 yr old Japanese/Iranian pitcher

      • Cris Pengiucci

        I agree with these numbers. After the Dice-K signing, I’d be surprised if any team is willing to go over $50 mil.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      You’re spending the $55M to acquire him. If you don’t reach a contract agreement, you don’t pat the posting fee.

    • steve (different one)

      To me, this is the big question. If Darvish was a FA, I think it would be a lock that the Yanks sign him (or at least make the biggest offer). The problem blind bid. The Yankees could bid $55M and still get outbid, with no second chance to decide if they want to go higher.

      Who knows, the Mariners could bid $60M? Or the Rangers. Or the Nationals.

      No one knows. That’s why I don’t want to get my hopes up. The Yankees could make a huge push and still not get him.

      • MannyGeee

        trust me, if the Yankees get outbid in the $55M range, they will likely be counting their blessings.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    BTW….The Climax Series is the best name ever.

    • UncleArgyle

      Well, if they win the posting, they’ll be signing him. Im pretty confident in that.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      +1 on the Climax Series. +2 or more if she’s good. :-)

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    If it were Me, I’d go Yu.

    • Jose M. Vazquez..

      Sign me up on that one too. From what I have heard and read this guy is awesome. Hideo Nomo comes across as one of the better Japanese pitchers but by all accounts Yu is better.

  • Gonzo

    What if they decide not to pursue either aggressively. By that I mean, they bid but have no problem getting outbid.

    That would be a interesting.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    Of course, if he comes over, I can hear a revival of Abbot and Costello’s who’s on first.

  • Dave B

    This is a good post, and the David P post was great. Assuming this analysis is correct, I’ve changed my initial “not another Japanese guy to make us a laughingstock” position.

    I don’t really care how much money the Yankees spend unless it prevents us from going after a relatively young, established pitcher like Wilson (which it won’t).

    Yu is only 24, which means the Yankees wouldn’t have the hurdle of unwinding bad habits built in over time. He seems normal (visiting the red light district doesn’t seem to indicate he is out of control).

    If the reports are correct that he has a mid to high 90’s fastball, I’d say take a flyer and get him. As we’ve seen with Igawa, what is the downside of blowing a few million to the Yankees?

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Definitely agree with most of what you’ve said, but he may request or require a clause in his contract preventing the Yankees from stashing him in the minors, as they did with Igawa.

    • steve (different one)

      I don’t think $100M can qualify as a “flyer”…

      • Dave B

        Agreed, but the Yankees consider $100M about the same as me taking a $1000 flyer on a stock market tip. With the cash they throw around at some of the guys on their current roster one thing is clear: they operate differently than only 2 or 3 other teams, and I am shifting my perspective to how the Yankees look at things. To them, $100M may indeed be a flyer!

  • pat

    Sign him. Honestly, it’s not our money and if he sucks he gets the Igawa treatment.

  • bg90027

    My problem with Darvish is that as David P. said we should view him as an expensive prospect, yet he’s likely to come with a cost closer to that of a proven frontline pitcher. I know it’s not a perfect comparison but Aroldis Chapman signed for $30 million over 6 years. I’d have to imagine that the posting fee combined with his salary will be at least 2X to 2.5X times that if not more. Matsuzaka got over 3X that. I get that these guys have thrown more innings than Chapman had and that some were projecting Chapman as a reliever rather than an ace starter. I don’t think the size of the disparity makes sense though. It’s just too much for a prospect.

    If he could be had for $50 total (posting fee and salary), then I’d probably think it was a worthwhile gamble. Much more than that seems foolishly risky to me. I’m not really in the CJ Wilson camp though either. I’d love to have him but not for a long term, big money deal. Flexibility is important and I don’t think you give long term contracts to players you don’t love just because they’d fill a need. I’d rather they explore trades, look at shorter term options like Buerhle/Oswalt, bargin basement flyers like garcia/colon were, or give a young guy like Noesi a chance. There will likely be better options at the trade deadline this year given next year’s free agent crop.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      It looks like you believe the posting fee is part of his salary (“Matsuzaka got over 3X that”). If that’s what you think, that’s incorrect. Matsuzaka got $52 mil (less than 2x what it may take to sign Darvish) and his team got $51.11 mil. Hopefully the Ham Fighter’s get less. A contract of 6/30 for Darvish with a posting fee of somewhere below $50 mil seems reasonable, based on the littel I’ve seen written about him. From an operating cost perspective, having a $5 mil/yr top-line prospect, especially knowing what’s available this offseason and not knowing what will remain available after next season, with the added benefit of not having to give up a first round draft pick or prospects, in a trade situation, seems worth the risk.

      • JohnnyC

        Yu is already making 6.5 a year. He’s not going to sign for a decrease in salary.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          Agree. Never did the currency exchange on his current contract.

      • bg90027

        I know the posting fee goes to the team not the player and I know it’s not subject to the luxury tax but it is still part of the cost of signing a Japanese player. Sloppy wording on my part but from a cost standpoint (which is what I care about), acquiring Matsuzaka cost the Redsox over $100 million in combined salary and posting fee which is over 3X what signing Chapman cost the Reds and the scenario you are suggesting for Darvish ($50MM posting fee, $30 million salary) is over 2.5X what Chapman cost. Do we really think that is justifiable? I don’t disagree that is a reasonable guess at what he might get but I’d say pass if it is.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          As has been pointed out herer, the contract needs to be something in the range of 6/$60m. That makes things a bit more challenging and will hopefully bring the posting fee down. If you can get him for around a $30mil posting fee, he quite possbily be worth it. Seems to be a better bet than Chapman.

    • Adam Parker

      Its not like its your money. What is your hesitation? MSM screaming that Yankees are buying a championship (again)?

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    Don’t sign Wilson or Darvish!

    /HalfKidding

  • UYF1950

    I thought I read a while back when the Red Sox bid on Dice K that after they were awarded the negotiating rights that they outbid the next bidder by $16M. If that’s the case instead of the Red Sox paying $50M to “talk” to Dice K they could have done it for $35M.

    That would lead me to believe that Darvish will probably go for somewhere in the area of $35 to $40M to win the rights to negotiate with. I doubt seriously the Red Sox will be in on the bidding after their ongoing experience with Dice K. So $35 to $40M might just be enough. Just an opinion but I think the Yankees could be the lead horse in the race with a $40M posting offer and $35M 5 year contract, total $75M maybe $80M tops. They don’t lose a 1st round draft choice and the only monies that are subject to the luxury tax is the yearly contract in my example about $7M per plus or minus.

    Certainly that expenditure would seem worth it and it would also allow the Yankees money to address the left handed “reliever” situation and the bench. Without really going over their theoretical salary limit of about $200 to $210M.

    Just my thought.

    • Gonzo

      I think Darvish makes $6mm plus in Japan right now (correct me if I am wrong). Locking into only a $1mm bump for the next 5 years is probably not what he had in mind.

      • UYF1950

        Actually I think it’s about $6.5M he makes per year. There is a slight difference though I believe. Contracts over there are yearly. There are no guarantees from 1 year to the next. Besides traditionally it been the contract for these players is about what the posting fee is. Based on my original posts/theory $35 to $40M posting fee then $35 to $40M contract. If he get’s a 5 year $40M contract that’s $8M per year. I guess we will see what his market value is.

        • Gonzo

          We probably won’t see what his market value is since he won’t hit the “open” market. My point is that he might be better served waiting until he is a true free agent rather than take an offer to what he is making right now. That way, he can pit the Yanks vs. Sox vs. everyone else without worrying about a posting fee.

          • radnom

            If he takes a 5 year deal he will hit FA at age 29 as an established MLB player. That is his best chance for a big payout.

            If he toils in Japan until he is a true free agent teams will still be wary of spending a ton on someone with no MLB experience and he next contract will be when he’s in his thirties.

            If he is confident he can play in the US, this is his best move.

            • radnom

              *30

          • UYF1950

            I’m not sure there is that much of a benefit to him waiting. First off there are no guarantees that if he waits that something unforeseen now might not effect his value in 2014. Injury, instead of being 25 going on 26 he will 27 going on 28. He will have even more innings on his arm and teams may be more hesitant to offer a 5 or 6 year deal to a player with no MLB experience who will be 33 or 34 during the last year of a contract. Plus right now the FA market for starting pitchers is pretty lean who knows what the 2014 FA market for starting pitchers with players like Lincecum available will be. He may not be a high priority for the large market/big spending teams.

      • Bryan

        If his converted salary is $6 – 6.5m now, then a $2m payrise is the MINIMUM for this guy. Factor in the higher cost of living in NY compared to Tokyo, and a bid in the $40 – $50m range, and the Yanks are looking at minimum $88m – $98m for this guy, a 25 year AAA prospect, with 1000+ innings already, no pitch count, but with Verlander velocity and command.

        Been reading up on him the past year, and seen no reports on his secondary pitches. If he had 3 plus pitches, I’d be ok signing him.

        • Cliff

          Higher cost of living in NY compared to Tokyo??? Have you ever been to Tokyo? A pizza is like $40. His salary would not be much higher with the Yankees than it is now. Guaranteed contract and eventual free agency, plus the competition are what he comes for.

          • UYF1950

            Cliff, I couldn’t have said it better myself. You hit the nail on the head as far as I’m concerned.

          • A.D.

            Having lived in both, Tokyo is one of the few cities with a higher cost of living than NYC

        • Amuro

          LOL. I guess you didn’t know that Tokyo is consistently ranked in the top 1 or 2 on the list of most expensive cities to live in. In 2010 they were ranked #1. NYC was ranked #29.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    I’ve always said that I’d like to see Darvish in the Bronx. Hank, Hal, make it happen :D

  • the Other Steve S.

    Could someone that follows the Japanese leagues explain how this guy is so much better/different that Dice-K? All I heard was how Dice-K pitched 400 innings a year and never iced his arm and had six killer 94mph pitches. He has really only had mixed success and when I have seen him we either pound him or he beats us and we are all saying
    ‘What happened? The guy has no stuff.’. Granted he has Koufax stats
    but they don’t always translate from Japan. Just wondering.

    • PaulF
      • PaulF

        Summary: Even if his transition goes as badly as Igawa’s, he would have a 3.15 ERA. His stats are just so much better than any Japanese pitcher to ever come over here that he can afford to do a lot worse and still be really good.

        • SevenAces

          I tried to use the same angle to explain to a friend, didn’t work.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    Do want…if he was 24 and had those stats in AA or AAA he’d be considered better than Strasburg. He’s ready for the promotion and I’m all for it.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      At a minimum, with those stats in AA or AAA (NPB being consider AAA+, it’s reasonable to expect similar numbers in American AAA ball), he’d get a call up from just about EVERY SINGLE TEAM. I’m not a pro baseball GM or scout and I don’t play one on TV, but I’m all for this signing if the total cost can be in the $80 – $90 mil range.

      • Jimmy McNulty

        I’m willing to go like 120 or so for the total package…50-60M posting fee and a 6/60ish contract.

  • Mickey S

    Yu Darvish will be a Yankee. That is all. What does scare me is the last two that were posted over weren’t as advertised. But since ole Yu is half Iranian, he’ll dominate. I’m pretty sure it’s just the Japanese pitching gene that sucks in the Majors.

    • Amuro

      Because there are so many Iranian baseball players that dominate MLB right now?

  • JT

    Get me Darvish!

    Bid 56mil on the posting fee, 35mil/5yr ( with a couple team options) on the contract. Total 91mil with no luxury tax on the posting fee and no loss of draft picks…

    Get It Done!

    also
    Renegotiate CC’s deal to 5yr 125mil.

    CC
    Darvish
    Nova
    Hughes
    AJ

    (Hughes or AJ goes to the pen when Banuelos comes up)

    and we need a good lefty for the pen.

    • Dave203

      There is no way he is signing less than a 6 year deal — he will sign through his arbitration years so he can become a FA after the initial contract.

      Also, you can count team options off the table since just like the rest of the players who come over, he’ll want a 6 and out deal where he can become a FA after his initial contract.

      7 million is a year is not cutting it though. His 2011 salary is 500 million yen (approx 6.5 million USD). Since he gets nothing from the posting fee, he’s not moving to NY for another 500K/year. My guess is it will take around 9-10 million/yr to get him to sign.

      We could play hardball and risk not signing him and just take our posting fee back though. It just depends on how bad we want him.

  • ItsATarp

    For all the Bustiness of the Dice-K, he still managed to pull off 3+ WAR in each of his two years is a 3 WAR pitcher when healthy. Darvish is expected to blow dice-k out of the water.

  • Monteroisdinero

    What is Banuelos doing this off season? He’s our most exciting prospect on the mound. Off topic but I have nothing to add on Darvish other than just resign CC and don’t overspend on Yu.

  • Carl

    Darvish makes Approx 6.5 Million playing for the Ham fighters. He’s not coming to the USA for anything less then this. 6/50 Million is more like it. Being that he holds a better track record then Dice-K I belive he will get a bigger contract. Maybe 6/60 would do.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Never did the conversion of his current salary to dollars. Your contract expectations may be right. Makes the question of the signing a bit more difficult, but may also lower the posting fees put out by the teams.

    • Dave203

      Exactly and keep in mind, he would likely be getting another raise for 2012 in Japan. He got a 170 million yen (little over 2 million USD) raise going into 2011. If he gets that again going into 2012, he’d be making 8.5 million USD in Japan. It’s going to take convincing to get him to sign 10 time zones east.

    • MannyGeee

      yup, I was thinking 5/50 with incentives that could bring him to AJ money if he is in fact as advertised.

  • Bbig11

    Something I’d be curious to find out: what are your thoughts on any expected advertising revenue bump that could be expected by signing a global star like Darvish. I know the Yankees certainly benefited in that department from the Matsui department. Something to consider in terms of offsetting the posting fee.

    • Bbig11

      *Matsui signing.

      Obviously we have a pretty good foothole in the U.S. market. It’s be intesting to see the impact of signing an Asian market star like darvish.

  • SevenAces

    Yu Darvish >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Door Mat
    ’nuff said.

  • Cris Pengiucci

    So, when Darvish comes over and signs with whatever team, is he a rookie? Ichiro was, yet Matsui wasn’t. My guess is, due to his age, he’d be considered for the ROY award, provided he’s got the stats. That Matsui didn’t win was wrong, in my opinion

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Matsui was. He finished second in the 2003 AL ROY.
      http://www.baseball-reference......Year_Award

      • Cris Pengiucci

        Correct. I stated that poorly. I recall one, if not more, voters stating that they wouldn’t vote for him since they didn’t consider him a rookie. Lookng back over the stats, Berroa and Matsui had very similar lines. Home team bias on my part I guess.

        • Rookie

          No, it’s not home team bias on your part. It’s anti-media bias on the part of the ROY voters.

          Anti-Yankee members of the media can rationalize/justify any double standard they like to stick it to the Yankees.

          Ichiro? Rookie.
          Other Japanese players? Rookies.
          Matsui? Not a rookie.
          Etc., etc., etc.

          If a player played in Japan and he’s not a Yankee, he’s a rookie. If he’s a Yankee, he’s not.

          It’s their bias, not yours or mine.

          • A.D.

            The only bias here is Yankee bias, Berroa put up effectively the same OPS, with more stolen bases and played a premium position in SS not LF, I would imagine the SS should win that award every time

  • Jimmy McNulty

    Another point about NPB pitchers, they’ve only had baseball in Japan since after WWII. It was part of the reconstruction there, the American troops taught the Japanese baseball. Since they’ve only had the game there for such a short period of time, it makes since that they’re farther behind in scouting, coaching, and just plain skills (well the skills that can be developed). Since baseball is getting bigger and bigger in Japan, it would make sense that the pitchers that are coming later are better than the ones that came before like Irabu and Nomo. More kids have are wanting to play in NPB baseball when they are young, so little leagues, middle school, and high school baseball (or their equivalent in Japan) are getting more and more competitive forcing players to need better skills to succeed. More competition means that there’s a better product that comes out, in this case the products are baseball players.

    Masahiro Tanaka is looking to be another hot prospect that the Yankees will probably have a look at in a while, he doesn’t have Darvish’s breaking balls but he’s 22 and posted a 1.07 BB/9 and a 9.59 K/9 in 226.1 innings. He may be the next thing to come out of the NPB, he’s on pace to be better than Darvish. His peripherals have been a bit better than Darvish’s at the same age, granted he hasn’t been posting sub 2 ERAs since he was 20 like Darvish, but he’s still been pretty fucking awesome.

    • JohnnyC

      God, there’s all sorts of misinformation here. Baseball was introduced to Japan in the 1870s. American ML players and teams first toured Japan in 1908. The predecessor to the NPB was founded in 1935 so there’s been professional baseball in Japan for 76 years. Cool story, bro.

      • Jimmy McNulty

        Really? Hmm…I was always told by historians (granted not baseball historians, and okay not historians but guys on the History and Military channel) that the US troops introduced baseball to the Japanese to improve relations with the Japanese citizens. Guess they got that one wrong.

    • Jose M. Vazquez..

      I believe that baseball was played in Japan well before WWII. Babe Ruth made it more popular by taking a team of major leaguers there in the late 20s and early 30s. During the war baseball took a vacation and may have been revived by Gen. McArthur in the post war reconstruction. If I am wrong please someone correct me.

  • i am me

    darvish isnt a full jap- he’s a halfie

    • Dave203

      How insightful, you read Wikipedia well. Not sure how this has any bearing on this current discussion though.

      • JohnnyC

        If only he had read Wikipedia.

      • i am me

        so am i wrong? and no need to be a jerk about it. let me tell you something: ppl arent perfect.

      • i am me

        it absolutely has a place in this discussion b/c some ppl think japs are not good at pitching.

        • special kid

          to “i am me”,
          i find “japs” offensive. can you not use that word anymore in the future?

          thanks.

          • MASTER ASIAN MAN

            thanks, bud.

  • Gonzo

    Is there a definitive study on why some pitchers lose something off their fastball and other pitches going from a once a week rotation to a 5-day rotation.

    It’s weird. Some pitchers like Adam Warren will see an uptick, or stay the same, and others coming from similar situations will see their stuff suffer.

    Anyone know of a study?

  • i am me

    darvish will not be daisuke or igawa – why? bc hes not a full jap hes a halfie (half iranian). if you think im wrong then comment me some FACTS. this is the FINAL LINE. if someone insults me again im fighting back.

    • THE COME AT ME TROLL

      COME AT ME BRO

    • special kid

      this blog has the most psychos

      • MASTER ASIAN MAN

        i find “japs” offensive… you should be banned.

        • MASTER ASIAN MAN

          to “i am me”

    • Dave203

      classic moron…

    • Bryan

      You’re a loser i am me.

      Ethnicity has no bearing on pitching ability, just like ethnicity has no basis for mathematical ability.

  • Dave

    I hear John Henry is going to bid $150 million for this guy. He was told he would be a great goal scorer for the New England Revolution or whatever the name of that stupid soccer teams he owns.

    • MannyGeee

      That would be Liverpool of the EPL, Bob Kraft (Patriots Owner)owns the Revolution of MLS.

      Plus… Soccer? thats what assholes call it

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpfDXj-fmVI
      (fast fwd to 1 minute mark)

  • Tom O

    I just want Yu because it gives the Yanks another player with a “boo” rhyming name to chant, following the tradition of Huuuuughes, Yoooouk, Ruuuuuuiz and many more. Nothing like cheering a player and having it sound exactly like you hate him.

  • MannyGeee

    So, I am in full support of going balls deep in for Yu. (See what I did there??), however I hope that the yankees FO have learned that those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it…

    Daisuke Matsuzaka rhp

    6 years/$52M (2007-12)
    posted by Seibu Lions 11/06, with Boston submitting high bid of $51,111,111 to Seibu to acquire negotiating rights with Matsuzaka for 30 days

    signed by Boston 12/06
    $2M signing bonus
    07:$6M, 08:$8M, 09:$8M, 10:$8M, 11:$10M, 12:$10M
    – full no-trade clause:may not be traded without consent, provided player gets his first day of Major League service during a guaranteed contract of at least 6 years after player has been with a professional baseball league team other than a major or minor league team

    – award bonuses: $0.5M for MVP ($0.125M for 2nd, $0.1M for 3rd, $75,000 for 4th, $50,000 for 5th), $0.5M for Cy Young ($0.4M for 2nd, $0.3M for 3rd), $0.1M All Star start ($50,000 for All Star selection), $0.15M for WS/LCS MVP, $50,000 for Gold Glove, $25,000 for Rookie of Year
    - may not be sent to minor leagues

    escalators may increase contract value to total of $60M:
    2009 & 2010 salaries increase to $10M with:

    – Cy Young award in 2007 or 2008, or
    – top 3 in Cy Young vote in 2007 and 2008, or
    – MVP award in 2007 or 2008, or
    – top 5 in MVP vote in 2007 and 2008

    2011 & 2012 salaries increase to $12M with:
    – Cy Young award in 2009 or 2010, or
    – top 3 in Cy Young vote in 2009 and 2010, or
    – MVP award in 2009 or 2010, or
    – top 5 in MVP vote in 2009 and 2010

    perks: physical therapist, massage therapist, interpreter, 8 first-class round-trip airline tickets per year between Boston & Japan, spring training housing allowance of up to $25,000, Boston housing allowance of up to $75,000, one-time moving allowance of up to $35,000, use of Lincoln Town Car or similar car, Red Sox player ticket package, including 2 field box seats, team employee to assist Japanese media, uniform No. 18

    agent: Scott Boras
    ML service: 4.000

    • Dave B

      This is what I was initially afraid of, having a bust like this on our hands to rant about. However, the Yankees are going to pay a premium for overseas talent compared to all but a couple of teams.

      If you are suggesting to avoid it because of all of the issues with his restrictive contract, then you are saying the Yankees should NEVER take a risk on overseas talent. I disagree, not only because Yu will be cheaper than this, but also how big of a deal would it really be to the Yankees’ future success if Yu flames out? So they cut him and have to eat $20 M? Will that prevent them from going after free agents? I don’t think so.

  • Bill

    Sign me up for Darvish. Its a risk, but opportunities to get guys with his talent at his age are few and far between. An aggressive bid seems like a worthwhile investment.

  • BK2ATL

    Yeah, count me in for Darvish over Wilson as well. I’m thinking $40-50 million on the posting fee, with a 6 yr, $66 million deal. We keep our 1st round draft pick as well.

    The total outlay of money might be the same as what Wilson might command, but less salary impact taking the posting fee out of it. Plus the Darvish upside over Wilson is out of the park. That posting fee might be made back within his 1st year in advertisements and merchandise sales alone, esp. in NYC with Madison Ave right there. Can you say goldmine, if he pans out?

    Also, his talent and preparation for MLB appears to be more on the level of Ichiro than Dice-K. He seems to have it together mentally and physically will only grow into his 6’5″ frame. Maybe he turns into our own version of King Felix, without us having to relinquish Jesus, Banuelos, Nova and Nunez. Count me in, but I wouldn’t pencil him in as our #2 just yet. Ease him into MLB at the back of the rotation initially.

    Would be sweet in 2013 with CC, Darvish, Nova, Hughes/Burnett, and Banuelos/Betances….and Kemp.

  • Reggie C.

    I’ll just throw out numbers since the boom/bust discussion above is already getting repetitive.

    Posting fee: 60 million
    Contract : 6 years, 70 million.

    The key is the posting fee. Since its a non punitive sunk cost that’ll only affect the team treasury and not benefit the small mkt teams VIA the luxuries tax, just go big. Win the post and flex that advantage lost in the draft and intl free agency .

    • Rookie

      I haven’t run the numbers, but I’d think the winning bid is unlikely to be much below $70 million. And I wouldn’t be shocked if it were more.

      I would guess that your 11.67 million per year prediction for the contract he signs is the floor, too.

      • Dave203

        70 million in a posting fee is insanity. Everyone thought Boston was insane when they broke the 50 million mark for DiceK (who was a bust). There is no way any franchise is throwing 70 million just to negotiate with an player who hasn’t even proven himself in MLB.

        If they are going to toss 130 million around, they could easily get Wilson who has proven himself already.

        There is no way this bidding tops 50 million again. It was unheard of with DiceK and teams will have learned their lesson from that disaster.

    • Rookie

      And it only makes sense for the Yankees to make a bid that factors in the fact that they’re not paying a 40% luxury tax on the posting fee. (You know the Red Sox and the Rangers will be doing the same — no matter how much Gammons and the Red Sox’s other fans in the media might be downplaying their interest and lowballing their likely bid the way they did ahead of the bidding for the rights to negotiate with Matsuzaka.)

  • Rookie

    P.S. Darvish looks like he’ll be a $20+ million/year talent that somebody will be adding to their taxed payroll for something closer to $12 million per year. If the Yankees do allow the Red Sox or the Rangers to win the bidding for Darvish and thus help them remain below the luxury tax threshold and avoid the huge tax the Yankees will pay for years to come, they’ll be giving that team a huge competitive advantage against them for years to come.

  • Rookie

    P.P.S. On the other hand, if the Yankees are going to use Darvish like they used Colon and not factor in that, as I understand it, the MLB baseball is bigger and heavier and be prepared to protect their investment, then the best thing they can do is bid high for his rights and low on his contract, planning to lose, but thus keep him away from Boston, Texas, and Philadelphia. Of course, that makes sense for each of them (and others) to do the same thing. (That’s why, in my opinion, the whole structure of the process of posting will ultimately have to be changed.)

  • cranky

    Sure, Darvish is only considered a “top tier prospect” right now. But that doesn’t at all mean he isn’t worth pursuing.
    If for example, the Yanks could sign Matt Moore right now, would they make an all-out effort? I think so.
    Darvish has everything you’d like to see in a starter, and he’s still plenty young.

    The Yanks need to add two starters. So even if they were to obtain Darvish, and he turns out to be great, they still would need more. Neither Hughes, nor Burnett, can be considered dependable. Which brings us to CJ Wilson.
    Sure, the money would be ridiculous. But, it’s almost always ridiculous. Nothing at all new there.
    A rotation of CC/Darvish/CJ/Nova/Hughes would be pretty sweet.
    And, if they were able to get Darvish, but not CJ…….they could offer Hughes+Romine to the White Sox for Danks, and give Hector Noesi a shot.
    A rotation of CC/Darvish/Nova/Danks/Noesi would be pretty sweet, too.

    • Dave203

      There is no need to give up Hughes for Danks. Danks is a FA after next season and does warrant giving up Hughes for. I would love to see Danks with an extension, but not if it meant giving up Hughes. We have good enough prospects to get a deal done not affecting our ML roster.

  • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

    As ardently as I opposed your Swisher take, I am equally in agreement with you in your Darvish assessment.

    Worth the gamble, IMO.

    The Igawa comparisons by skeptics are unfounded. Every other scout in America viewed Igawa as a 4-5 starter in the NL West. The Yankees bungled on Igawa.

    Darvish isn’t Igawa.

    • George

      +1
      Igawa was a pitcher with an average fastball , below average secondary offerings and below average control ( fastball was always high in the zone). No more than a 5 starter in the NL west .

      Darvish is better than Matsuzaka , Igawa , Nomo , Kuroda , Irabu in every way . I will be pissed if the Yankees don’t put a decent posting bid on this kid .

      BTW even though Irabu was a bust here . The Yankees didn’t do their due diligence on his commitment to baseball . I remember Bobby V stating that when he managed Chiba Lotte he would always push Irabu to exercise and he would try to keep him away from nightly drinking binges at bars . When he pitched for the Yankees he was a fraction of his former self . In Japan his stuff was top notch .
      If he would of taken better care of himself his MLB career would have been special.

      Point is judging an NPB player from just youtube vids is not a good idea. Luckily Darvish has no problems in that area as he has stated in the past that he is not happy unless his e.r.a is 0.00.

  • JonS

    Im hoping the yanks go after Yu!! Ive liked his stuff since we got to see him when he was 19 or 21 what ever age it was. But he would be cheaper and like the article says, no draft pick just posting fee and money. I would go anywhere from 42-48 on posting and 55-66 for 6 years. With what ever other money we have i would check in on Buehrle. I kno he doesn’t want to leave Chi town but if he did he would be a cheaper left hander from CJ money and he wouldn’t have to be a top of the rotation guy just the other left hander we need

  • Mike

    If Darvish fails for us he would make the 3rd Japanese starting pitcher that we signed and flopped. He’ll probably be the most expensive though.

  • A.D.

    Its really win-win for the fans if the Yanks sign him and he’s good then we have a top pitcher in the rotation, if he sucks, we have an ace whipping boy for 4-6 years.

  • FachoinaNYY

    Post: 40

    contract: 6/60

    Book it.

  • http://Yankees028 David

    Forget CJ Wilson, get YU DARVISH.
    I will say from 60-63 on posting and for 66-70 for 6 years with the option for 7th if Darvish finishes top rookie and winning 20 games in first-three years in NY.

  • http://Yankees028 David

    And Darvish is more athletism than Dice-K and Igawa.

  • http://Yankees028 David

    Getting CJ Wilson in a free agency will definitely cost the Yankees’ first-round draft pick next year. I think the Yankees will not sign him as Cash prefers.

  • John

    Darvish has some talent. So do a lot of young prospects. But just because he dominates a bunch of “FOOT IN THE BUCKET”. “WAIL AND BAIL”. OFF BALANCE HITTERS(unscientific) IN JAPAN, DOESN’T MEAN THAT IT TRANSLATES IN THE MLB.Especially the dogfight patient teams of the AL EAST.

    I think Dice-k was more of a focused PITCHER than YU.And that was short lived.

    I wouldn’t take a chance on Darvish.

  • tommy cassella

    i would’nt give darvish the sweat off my balls.TORA!TORA!TORA!

  • Robert Mackenzie

    The mistake signing Igawa should not keep the Yankees from going after Darvish any more than Burnett should keep the Yankees from going after Felix were he a free agent. Everyone is comparing Darvish to other Japanese pitchers but I don’t think it’s fair to compare them. They are different pitchers with different stuff, different bodies, different ages and far different abilities. Darvish is 6’5 much taller than Dice-K at 6’0 and he’s also much more athletic. if you have to compare him to a Japanese player I think Yu translates more to an Ichiro type in terms of his quality as a baseball player.

    Some things not to be overlooked when considering Darvish:

    1. The posting fee would not count against the luxury tax. Since the Yanks are in the luxury tax it would make sense to sign Yu. He would only count about 9-10 million a year as a number 2 where CJ would cost 15-18 mil per.

    2. Some of the posting fee will be recouped in merchandise and advertising because he is Japans best and most popular player

    3. Signing this “free agent” would not cost a draft pick, unlike C. J. Wilson.

    Also it’s not like Yanks have never had a successful Japanese player, remember World Series MVP Hideki Matsui. And by the way, Darvish has been a much better pitcher in Japan than Daisuke Matsuzaka ever was. In fact he is clearly the most impressive pitcher that will have ever come out of Japan (if he does). In Japan he has had an ERA below 2 every year and averaged almost 200 innings with 200Ks per year and a very good whip. If you were ever going to take a chance on a Japanese pitcher this would be the guy. There are no guarantees, but he’s young only 25 and the Yanks would be paying for all his prime years. If he turns out to be an ace like the scouts are predicting, I think he is a worthwhile investment.

  • Kev

    As long as the Yankees win the posting fee, and give him the Cliff Lee contract, then he’ll team up with CC Sabathia. The only other teams I see is maybe the other NY team, the Mets. Red Sox will not unless they unload Dice-K, Nationals will give it a run.

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