Repeating History With Yu Darvish

Can A-Rod return to the .500 SLG plateau?
Resizing the market for Danks and Gonzalez
(Photo Credit: Darvish via Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images, Johan via AP)

After much speculation and anticipation, the Nippon Ham Fighters officially posted Yu Darvish late last week. MLB clubs have until 5pm ET this Wednesday to submit their bid for the 25-year-old right-hander, and so far the Yankees have been playing coy. Team officials “sounded pessimistic about making a significant posting bid, if they submit one at all” according to Joel Sherman, but this is exactly how Brian Cashman has operated the last few years. It’s hard to take these claims seriously.

Four offseasons ago, the Yankees were in a similar position to the one they are in right now: in need of pitching with an ace-caliber starter in the prime of his career to be had. The Twins were openly shopping Johan Santana — just 28 years old and coming off one of the most dominant four-year stretches in recent baseball history — because he was under contract for just one more season and they couldn’t afford to sign him long-term. Only a few clubs had the prospects to put together a trade package and the financial wherewithal to sign him to a huge contract extension, and the Yankees were one of those teams.

Cashman did the song and dance as trade rumors swirled for a while, but ultimately he and the Yankees passed on Santana. They rolled the dice with Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy in 2008, an experiment that was a disaster and ultimately contributed to the team missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade and a half. Passing on Johan was just one piece of Cashman’s grand rotation plan though, a plan that included pursuing CC Sabathia as a free agent during the 2008-2009 offseason. The consequences were pretty severe in 2008, at least around these parts, but the plan worked masterfully. The Yankees signed Sabathia — another left-handed ace in his prime, but one without as many question marks as Santana — for nothing but money and watched him lead them to the 2009 World Championship. This offseason, Cashman and the Yankees could be pulling the same trick again.

(Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)

In Darvish, teams have a chance to acquire someone purported to be an ace but with very real questions about his game. Santana’s problem was his sudden spike in homerun rate and reports an elbow issue that caused him to lose some velocity and reduce the usage of his slider. He was proven in MLB and the AL though, which is the question with Darvish. We don’t know how he’ll transition to the States, and the track record of Japanese starters over here isn’t very good beyond Hiroki Kuroda. The Yankees would have had to pay twice for Johan (once in prospects then once in a huge contract extension), but Darvish is available for only money (including a huge up front posting free payment).

Playing the role of Sabathia this time around is next offseason’s crop of free agent pitchers, which includes Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, John Danks, Matt Cain, Jeremy Guthrie, Francisco Liriano, Brandon McCarthy, Anibal Sanchez, and Shaun Marcum. Some are bonafide stars, some are mid-rotation workhorses, some are risky high-upside plays. Some of those guys will surely sign extensions over the next ten months, but the sheer volume of quality pitchers leads me to believe that at least some of them will be available next offseason. By not paying big bucks for Darvish and his uncertainty now, the Yankees could be gearing up for a run at one of those arms next winter, guys with track records in MLB and generally safer bets.

What Cashman did four winters ago — putting all his eggs in the Sabathia basket — was incredibly risky in many ways, but there isn’t that much risk this time around. For one, he already has CC anchoring his rotation, so there isn’t that need for someone to place atop the rotation. They’re just looking for someone to put between Sabathia and ahead of everyone else. Secondly, Sabathia was The Guy after the 2008 season, the best pitchers on the market after him were A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe, nice pitchers (at the time) but hardly whom you’d consider rotation stalwarts. This time around the options are plentiful, even if a few of those guys sign extensions like I said.

No one asked me, but I would like to see the Yankees sign Darvish because it’s not often a 25-year-old with his pedigree comes along for nothing more than money. Then again, I could also see them stand pat or acquire someone like Kuroda or John Danks for 2012 with an eye towards going nuts on pitching next winter. Not saying I necessarily agree with it, but I could see them going that route. There wouldn’t be as much risk as there was four years ago, but the thought process is basically the same. It’s already worked once, but the question is can it work again?

Can A-Rod return to the .500 SLG plateau?
Resizing the market for Danks and Gonzalez
  • Andrew Brotherton

    I think we should go after him. A chance to get an ace at a reasonable cost.

    • jsbrendog

      and you know he is an ace….how? and you know the posting fee anc contract will be reasonable compared to what you get…how?

      • Ana

        Hence “chance.”

        • John Ya Ya


  • Paul from Boston

    “an experiment that was a disaster and ultimately contributed to the team missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade and a half”

    Sorry, but this isn’t true. The pitching was fine in 2008 as good as 2007 or 2006. The problem is the offense fell off a cliff and they had exactly no help on the bench when the inevitable injury bug hit Jorge His loss, replaced by Jose Molina and his 51 OPS+, along with giving Melky 400 PAs with a 68 OPS+, were the killers.

    I just hate this explanation because it’s pushed by Cashman as the reason not to rely on young pitchers. The problem is it’s an invention. Better pitching wasn’t helping that 2008 team when they couldn’t score (101 team OPS+).

    • Always Sunny in CP

      I don’t think pitching was fine in the year when we had to use Darrell Rasner and Sidney Ponson as regular starting pitchers and Wang had his year cut short thanks to that Astros game. Pettitte also had 98 ERA+ as well. Mussina was the only achiever of the rotation that year with 132 ERA+ and 20 wins

      • Paul from Boston

        They scored 789 runs in 2008, almost 180 fewer than in 2007. Vintage Koufax and Pedro weren’t helping that team get over the hump.

      • Ed

        The pitching was so bad that for the last few months the team preferred going with an injured Pettitte over the alternatives. His shoulder hurt bad enough that he couldn’t throw breaking balls. They stuck with him and gave him regular MRIs to make sure he wasn’t damaging his shoulder further.

    • Piro

      Remember Hughes and Kennedy winning 0 games?

  • Jason

    I say take a gamble and sign Darvish!

    • Cris Pengiucci

      I’d go for Darvish or wait till next year’s FA class. That may also provide the opportunity to evaluate the talent currently in AAA a bit more (including Noesi). I’d hate to pay twice for Danks, with only one year left on his contract, unless the price was something less than Noesi, Montero, Banuelos or Betances. I’m hugging these prospects.

  • MD

    Who’s available next off season? type As

    • MannyGeee

      Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, John Danks, Matt Cain, Jeremy Guthrie, Francisco Liriano, Brandon McCarthy, Anibal Sanchez, and Shaun Marcum

      Four of those guys I would surrender my first born for, let alone the 1st round draft pick…

      and FWIW I am not positive Liriano, McCarthy & Sanchez are bonafide Type As.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        I hope one of them isn’t Matt Cain. He’d die here.

        • JAG

          While I don’t necessarily agree with you on Cain, I only see 3 top-notch starters worth “any” price. Hamels, Grienke, and Cain are all top-shelf for sure, but who’s the 4th?

          • mpc5150

            Grienke is a NUT CASE! The NY media would eat him alive. He’d be huddled in the fetal position behind monument parak…no thanks….

  • Paul from Boston

    “By not paying big bucks for Darvish and his uncertainty now, the Yankees could be gearing up for a run at one of those arms next winter, guys with track records in MLB and generally safer bets.”

    I fail to see how it’s an either/or? If the Angels could get a $3Billion TV contract, what’s the YES money worth. We know the Yankees clear their payrol in ticket revenues alone. The point is they have the money. $50 Million on a posting fee is nothing. Then a $50 Million contract is easily swallowed if something should go wrong. They’re apparently willing to eat the Burnett money.

    Sorry, but a play for Darvish is much less risky than a play for Hammels, Greinke, or Cain. All of that money would count against the luxury tax and no doubt they’ll require in excess of $100 Million. The two aren’t comparable.

    It’s worth nothing that the panic move from 2008 wasn’t Sabathia. It was Burnett. We were told they’d never again sign mediocre pitching to a huge contract. They violated that dictum with Burnett. His rotation slot and salary number are the biggest problem on the team today.

    • CMP

      I agree. I would think Greinke and Hamels are gonna get somewhere in between CC and Lee type money and Cain not far behind.

      • Chip

        I wonder how having multiple ace and number 2 pitchers on the market at once will depress their earnings

        • Paul from Boston

          They won’t. Teams have money available. The question to me is which of these pitchers even reaches free agency. If Hammels and Cain are re-signed, I’m much less interested shopping in that market.

          • Chip

            Beyond Hammels and Cain, the only ones who might appeal to me would be Sanchez if his spike in strikeouts is real, maybe Danks and Greinke although the Yankees see to be very down on him.

    • Chip

      Nobody considered Burnett a mediocre pitcher at the time. He was consistently right around a 4 ERA pitcher with strong peripheral stats. The problem with Burnett was nobody thought he would be healthy enough to contribute. If you had told me when he signed that he would average 190 IP for the first three years of his contract, I’d have told you that it’s a great idea

      • Paul from Boston

        “Nobody considered Burnett a mediocre pitcher at the time.”

        Nobody, huh? I certainly did. There were many who could see past the “electric stuff”, include all many of the major free agent rankers.

        “He was consistently right around a 4 ERA pitcher with strong peripheral stats.”

        That’s mediocre, i.e., ordinary, i.e., average. Moreover, even if we looked at ERA+ then and concluded he’s 10% better than league average, that contract certainly wasn’t worth that level of performance. It was a terrible signing but it got lost in the noise of CC and Teixeira.

        • Avi

          Totally agree with Paul from Foston (yes Foston).

        • Chip

          In 2009, Burnett pitched to a 114 ERA+ and was worth 3.5 fWAR. Assuming 5 million per WAR, that’s worth 17.5 million in value while getting paid 16.5 million

          • Chip

            I should clarify that I don’t think the Burnett signing was the best idea in the world but just to point out that all Burnett had to do was be worth 3 WAR on average to make it worth while

            • Paul from Boston

              If we’re using bWAR, he hasn’t been worth 3 wins since 2002. Using fWAR, he’s never averaged 3 WAR over a five year period.

              • Chip

                He averaged 3.86 fWAR per year for the 5 years leading up to that contract despite the fact that he only averaged 170 innings pitched over those years

                • Paul from Boston

                  Good catch. This is where the fangraphs number start to read like bullshit. Calling him a 2.9 WAR pitcher over 120 innings in 2004 or a 3.2 WAR over 135 innings in 2006 is not real.

                  • Chip

                    Yeah, I’m not an expert on WAR stuff but it shocked me how good Burnett’s peripherals were in the two years prior to him signing with the Yankees. You’re looking at 9+ K/9 and a 50% ground ball rate. That should be a recipe for success in Yankee Stadium. I just hate what a tease he is, even last year he had a 3.84 xFIP

                    • Rookie

                      And as I recall he was lights out in the second half in the two or three years before the Yankees signed him. I was one of those who drank the Kool Aid. And what’s worse is that, given those stats, I would probably drink it again.

                      But now that the Yankees seem to have started making decisions about pitchers that are as smart as they used to be dumb, I have far more confidence in their judgement than mine.

                      That said, we can’t expect them to always be right. We can only hope that they’ll be right significantly more often than they’re wrong when big dollars are involved.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      I fail to see how it’s an either/or?


      I think a lot of ppl are focusing on the Sherman article that detailed how the Yankees want to get the payroll down to 184 million.

      • Paul from Boston

        Burnett will be off the books in 2014 when that kicks in.

      • I Live In My Mom’s Basement

        The posting fee wouldn’t count against the 184 million. Getting below 184 reduces the Yankees luxury tax in future years. So Darvish is only going to be like a $10M/year cost with respect to the $184.

    • Bryan

      Burnett was coming off a strong season in 08. ARod’s contract is the team’s biggest problem.

  • Professor Longnose

    Did the Yanks and Twins discuss names for Santana? Would the Yankees likely have given up someone who would have hurt the team after 2008?

    • Chip

      The expected offer was something like Hughes, Kennedy and Melky

      So you’d probably be looking at no CC because of Santana’s huge contract, no Hughes in the bullpen in 2009 and no Granderson (Kennedy was a key part of that trade)

  • Chip

    I’m actually pretty fine with either way which is a testament to the great position that this team is in right now.

    With Darvish you’re making a huge gamble that could pay off huge

    Without Darvish, you get another year for all of these high end arms to sort themselves out and then you can make a huge splash (Hamels, Cain, ect) or a medium splash (Marcum, Sanchez, ect) in next season’s free agent market depending on what you need.

    Saying that……..I still want Darvish :)

  • CMP

    Other than Hamels, there is no one available next season I like more than Darvish and who knows if the Philles are going to sign him to an extension so I say go get Darvish and hopefully plug the hole behind CC that’s been there since Burnett went into the tank 2 years ago.

  • Preston

    If we sign Darvish for 6 years at 120 million (including the posting fee) instead of another pitcher next year at that price we actually save money. Because his posting fee does not count against the luxury tax. That offsets some of the risk.

    • KeithK

      I think the luxury tax free posting fee is the key point. This is one place where the Yankees can flex their financial muscle without getting piled on by the rest of the league for doing so. From that perspective it makes sense to invest some dollars into the posting fee if you think the guy has anywhere near the potential that has been advertised. Which is not to say that they should break the bank on the posting fee.

      I don’t think any of Cashman’s public comments have any relevance to what will happen. There’s no way to tell if they’re not interested or simply down playing things to keep the posting fee down. We’ll see in a week.

  • Jake

    My concern is that the Yankees are becoming too risk adverse. If they stop using their relative economic strength to take risks, and absorb some of the inevitable mistakes, they will have essentially forfeited their most significant advantage. This team’s strength is not player development and the new CBA limits their ability to throw their weight around in the draft and the international market. If they’re really determined to significantly cut payroll by 2014, they’re doing the rest of baseball a big favor.

    I hope the Yankees aren’t overestimating their rotation. Everyone after Sabathia is a massive question mark. It’s possible Garcia repeats his 2011 performance, AJ rebounds after two historically bad years, Hughes figures it out and Nova continues to improve and/or outpitch his peripherals. But of those four possibilities, Nova is the only one I would bet on.

  • Duke

    Couple of thoughts about signing Darvish:

    1. His marketability will undoubtedly pay for his posting fee over the life of his agreed contract.

    2. The thought process of “well he hasn’t pitched in the states and the Yankees will have to pay through the nose to acquire a pitcher that is unknown”….Well he isn’t that unknown. The Yankees, like everyone else has scouted Yu and scouted him heavily. Also, what’s the difference in paying high school kid or college kid and paying Darvish? Some drafted kids get obscene bonuses and a MLB contract w/o ever setting foot in rookie ball. I understand that the balls and mounds are different in Japan, but talent is talent.

    3. Darvish’s contract will be through his peak years 26-31. Say he’s a 2 or 3 at worst in the rotation, a 6 year deal worth $60-70 million is a bargain in this market.

    4. He speaks English, so obviously this won’t be much of a problem for him.

    5. Other AL teams have been linked to him, most notably the Rangers and the Blue Jays. The Yankees must do everything in their power to make sure that neither team acquires him.

    6. Just costs money, which I’ve covered already. Does not cost prospects which Cashman wants to hold on to. With the new CBA, prospects will now be valued even higher. The Yankees have already stated that they are going to be more cost effective moving forward.

    I believe the Yankees have to be all-in Darvish.

    • Chip

      1. I don’t know if you can say that undoubtedly. I’m not sure where we would get all that money back unless it’s in advertisements in which case we’re talking about the difference in what Japanese companies will pay vs what American ones will. I do doubt it would cover the whole thing

      2. High school and college kids don’t get 100 million dollar commitments and they don’t have to adjust to a different culture

      3. Very true

      4. Speaking English and living in America aren’t necessarily the same thing but he does seem to be mentally prepared for the move

      5. I don’t think so make moves you don’t believe in to block other teams

      6. This is the place where the huge advantage comes in. International players are the only place where we still have a huge financial advantage

      • Duke

        I think the Darvish’s marketability will cover only the entire posting fee which I assume to be anywhere between $50-65 million.

        To me a $100 million commitment with ‘AAA’ experience overseas =(equals) $8 million bonus and $20 contract with high school experience. You’re paying for experience.

        Also, as gm of a collegiate summer league team, kids do have a hard time getting situated just going across state. Any place/environment is different for them. My point is that Darvish knows English which gives him a head start where other Japanese players have to learn.

        Lastly, I should have said that the Yankees should bid aggressively if they do like Darvish and want to protect Darvish from negotiating with another team.

        But overall I think we agree that Darvish is well worth the time.

        • Chip

          Yeah, I completely agree that he is a good baseball and financial move for him. My reasoning is mostly financial due to the salary cap whereas you are probably higher on his future success than I am

    • Holy Ghost

      1. He’s only marketable in the US if he lives up to the extremely high expectations people have for him. If he’s just mediocre or bombs like Igawa, forget about it.

      • Duke

        Good point, but he’s the most popular player in Japan currently and will be playing for the most popular baseball team in the world. A good bet says that he will be marketable.

    • Granderslam

      Regarding your #5:

      Twitter: @mlbtraderumors: Blue Jays Focused On Gio Gonzalez #mlb

  • Dan 2

    A bird in the hand…

    Grab Darvish and let the kids develop without the pressure to call anyone up in 2012. With good development, we will have trade chips, prospects, and the remaining FA pitchers after 2012 to really build the rotation for years to come. Imagine how sweet to go into an off season without having to sign an old warhorse or “innings eater” who are generally .500 or under contributors.

  • Pete Law

    I would also take into consideration the value of the Japanese market over the cost of the contract would more than pay for itself. Matsui boosted revenue in the Japanese market and Yu is just as big, if not bigger Japanese superstar that will draw interest and revenue from overseas. Just think at how Strasburg’s signing bonus paid for itself within his first 3 starts.

    Pay the posting fee and get him signed!

  • Nathan

    Take a chance, it’s only money and for a position of weakness.

    • MannyGeee

      Outside of everything else we have seen or heard above, I think this sums it up pretty well. The biggest team in organized sport spending money (of which they have an adundance of) to try and fix a position of definate need.

    • Avi

      You should NEVER pay $100MM+ for a “chance”.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        All of the pitchers available via free agency or trade are a “chance”. Start with Santana. As noted previously. Look at Burnett’s performance/peripherals prior to signing with the Yankees. Any pitcher available may not perform up to the $$$ of the contract. With Darvish, you’d likely be paying less per season. If the Yankees truely want to get under the payroll tax threshold by 2014, their options are pretty limited. Darvish may be the best option.

  • JonS

    Get Darvish!!!!!!!!!!!!

    With all this talk of luxury tax from the Yanks the best move to make would to be paying a 25 year old 50-60 mil for 5-6 years. Not a bunch of 28+ year olds excess of 100 plus mil. Yes i kno we will be placing a 50 mil bid to equal 100 mil but we all kno the yearly salary is way less. N all these people who are thinking about Cole, do u truly think the Philies are going to let him go..nope. N if he did his price is going to be close to 120+.. Ill pass

    • Avi

      So you’d rather give Darvish $100mm+ than give Hamels $120mm+?

      • thenamestsam

        That’s a dream number for Hamels. It will never happen. If he hits free agency he’s going to get CC money. He’ll be in the 160 range for sure. You may still prefer him, but it’s not happening for 6, 120M. So take the 6, 160M and add 40% on that and you’re paying 225M total. Add the 40% on the 50M salary for dharvish and you’re at 120M. That’s a way bigger difference in money than your numbers make it look like.

      • JAG

        Except you’re not giving Darvish $100mm, you’re giving Darvish $50-60mm and the Nippon Ham Fighters $50mm in a lump, non-luxury-taxable sum. It IS a big difference.

  • burbankbogey

    I am still hoping that they trade for Danks, sign Darvish and then find a home of AJ. Pipe dream, but with the way Miami and the Angels spent money this year, I don’t see winning in free agency as a guarantee any longer.

    • Granderslam

      I am with you all the way. A rotation featuring CC, Danks, and Darvish/Kuroda would make up my dream team. Hey, it still could happen, although that is highly doubtful. However…AJ, unfortunately, isn’t going anywhere. But, I would definitely go after Darvish.

      • Paul from Boston

        This brings up the real point that even Darvish isn’t helping this team all that much. They need at least four consistent starters. CC is one. The other candidates right now? Burnett, Hughes, Nova, and Garcia. All have significant warts. Adding Darvish just means they have to fill out two more rotation slots from the four wild cards.

        • Granderslam

          That’s why I really hope Ninja Cash re-emerges and is somehow able to make a trade for a Danks-like starter as well as a deal with Kuroda/Darvish. We need that rotation stability.

  • Kosmo

    Darvish will be in Yankee pinstripes next week at the press conference.

    • jayd808

      I’m with you Kosmo. Lot’s of sneaky stuff goes on and just cause you’ve made the posting money doesn’t mean everything else falls in line. Yu is a bright lights big city kind of guy and he’ll be negotiating with the Yankees as he chills on the Blue Jay’s offer.

  • chmch

    After a season of AJ I say take a run at Darvish. I’d put the odds at 60/40 agains the guy ever being any good. You’d have to, based on the track record of pitchers coming from that league, but still worth the risk. Buy one year as a bridge to some of the younger talent coming up though the system.

  • viridiana

    Yanks should go all-out for Darvish but I’m inclined to believe the many cautionary comments dropped by Cashman this winter on payroll. Yanks have been non-players in market thus far and I think it will continue.

    But Darvish would actually be help in getting under luxury tax for 2014. If they don’t get him now they will have to pay much more to get comparable talent next winter.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      But Darvish would actually be help in getting under luxury tax for 2014. If they don’t get him now they will have to pay much more to get comparable talent next winter.

      This is exactly why the Yankees are better off going after Darvish than waiting for next year’s FA market. Unless the Yankees are looking for a stop-gap measure (say Kuroda on a 1-year deal) to allow their younger arms to develop, this may be their best opportunity to save money long-term. Paying FAs big dollars or making a trade for someone with one or 2 years of cost control remaining doesn’t help as much in the long run.

    • Ted Nelson

      If they had already signed a SP, I think it would be less likely they go after Darvish aggressively… not more. And who else did you want? Pujols? Reyes?

      I agree with the possibility he helps the luxury tax picture, but there’s also a downside in him busting and the Yankees still having to pay him as well as someone else.

  • Avi

    Excellent post. Though, throughout the post you create the argument for the Yanks to pass on darvish but then you still feel the Yanks should sign him?

  • Chip

    A rotation of CC, Darvish, Cain, Nova and Banuelos/Betances/Noesi/Hughes in 2013 sounds quite mouth watering

    • Avi

      Not as good as CC, HAMELS, Cain, Nova..

      • Chip

        That rotation sounds amazing but you’re talking about paying 80 million dollars for our rotation alone which might be a bit expensive even for the Yankees

        • Avi

          The only difference between my rotation and your’s is Hamels over Darvish. Hamels will only cost about 20% more than Darvish. If you could afford Darvish you could afford Hamels.

          • Ted Nelson

            The other difference is that neither Hamels nor Cain is a free agent at this point, and there’s a pretty decent chance neither will be a free agent next off-season. Darvish is available this very moment.

          • Chip

            Well by salary cap, wouldn’t Darvish cost less than half as much as Hamels? I was thinking about 10 million for Darvish, 18 million for Cain and 23 million for Hamels (just guesses of course).

            So if you look at next year, you have 23 million for CC, 18 million for Cain, 16.5 million for Burnett, a guy like Nova at the minimum and then 23 or 10 million for the last spot depending on who you’re talking about.

            That puts us at ~80 million for Hamels in 2013 and ~64 million after that vs ~67 million for Darvish in 2013 and ~51 million after that.

            • Ted Nelson

              The posting fee is real money, though, not fairy dust.

              • A.D.

                True, but it isn’t taxed at a premium, so in a way you get a discount on the greater risk, even if its the same/similar total price tag

                • Ted Nelson

                  It’s discounted, but not fake money. It’s still a big chunk. And it’s due now, so you either have to borrow it and pay interest or pay out-of-pocket immediately… either of which counter-acts the discount to some extent.

              • Chip

                According to the payroll tax it is. If the Yankees can save 13 million bucks in that rotation spot, it greatly increases their chances of getting under 189 million in 2014 which could save them upwards of 100 million bucks

                • Ted Nelson

                  You can’t just ignore that money. It’s still money that the Yankees have to pay out of pocket. You can try to discount it based on a bunch of factors, but you can’t act like a. it doesn’t exist, b. Darvish will definitely be a big contributor, or c. they’d be signing him instead of two guys who aren’t even available at this point.

                  • JAG

                    The Yankees have access to that money. Let’s not pretend that they don’t. Getting under the luxury tax threshold is a different money concern because it makes each dollar they choose to spend more expensive, not to mention that that money goes to directly help their competition.

              • Cris Pengiucci

                But it’s money they can potential save a large chunk of by not being above the tax threshold come 2014.

                • Ted Nelson

                  Yes, but it’s money. You can discount it (though I doubt any of us has the inside knowledge to accurately account for the variables the Yankees are), but I don’t think you can just ignore it.

                  • Cris Pengiucci

                    You’re right, we can’t ignore it and don’t know enough about Yankee finances to determine how this would be paid for. However, I’m sure the Yankees will determine the cost/benefit or current cost/future reward due to both projected performance and projected future savings and/or income.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      For sure.

      • I Live In My Mom’s Basement

        I prefer Nova, Cain. At least if I am going to get a cavity filled. :)

    • Granderslam

      Cain will most likely be extended. Hamels is the way to go.

      • Ted Nelson

        Because the Phillies will probably let their young stud walk away for a couple of draft picks? If the Phillies don’t intend to re-sign Hamels, they can also trade him to someone who will.

  • Dan

    I’m convinced the Rangers gonna put out an outrageous bid well over $50 million and get Darvish . Supposedly they are in love with him and is the reason they let Wilson walk without make a serious attempt to resign him.

  • It’sATarp

    Not all those guys are going to hit the market. Hamels and Cain are expected to work out an extension. And we are probably going to avoid Greinke or else he would have been a Yankee last year. That leaves Danks at the top of the market and the rest of market isn’t exactly better than this year. Darvish has a better upside than any of those guys left.

    • Ted Nelson

      I have no idea how they feel about Greinke and they might avoid him, but I don’t think not trading for him proves that. The Royals got an MLB ready top prospect at a premium position, a top 100 pitching prospect, an MLB ready CF, and a former 1st round relief prospect. Who knows exactly what they were asking the Yankees for, but I assume it was something in the 2 of 3 Montero/Banuelos/Betances/Brackman to compete with Escobar and Odorizzi, probably plus Nunez, and maybe another arm.

      So that the Yankees didn’t want to trade top prospects for Greinke doesn’t necessarily mean they wouldn’t sign him to a market deal if it’s only a draft pick they lose.

      • Avi

        Fair point. Although the media propaganda at the time of the trade is that the Yanks had serious concerns about his psyche.

        • Ted Nelson

          If it was even true, it could mean that they were too concerned about his psyche to trade 2+ top prospects for him… not necessarily to sign him. Could have been what one guy in the FO thought, but not another.

          And, anyway, if they don’t reach the playoffs with a struggling rotation and Greinke is the only available top-line starter… ownership might not care what Cashman and Co. think of Greinke’s psyche.

          • Cris Pengiucci

            That’s never gonna happen! Ownership would NEVER over-rule Cashman!

            ..Wait, what?

  • CMP

    Going all in on Darvish just makes too much sense and I think everything else is just a bluff.

    I’m surprised the owners allow this posting business. It seems like a pretty shitty deal on their part having to make blind bids.

  • Peter R

    If my scouting said “go,” and they have scouted the crap outta him by all accounts I would pull the trigger on Yu.

    All of those guys (if they don’t sign extensions like I think Cain and Sanchez might at least if not Cole too) will demand pretty good money. Can the Yankees really afford another big money contract right now? All accounts point to Yu getting a $8-$12 mil/year deal…something quite affordable in Yankees terms with the “limited” budget in 2014 taken into account.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    If I had to make the decision, I’d be in on Darvish. However, I’d be treating it as a massive roll of the dice. Too many commenters on here ready to erect that plaque in Monument Park on here.

    The safer bet is still a solid vet like Kuroda for a year and see where the chips fall.

    2008 was such a disaster that the team won a World Series the next year. I’d sign up for that kind of disaster any time.

    I wouldn’t lose sleep over not getting Darvish, though. It would just be some other team’s gamble.

    • MannyGeee

      I hate calling 2008 a disaster because if I remember correctly, that team won 89 games. and only a cinderella season from a team that had never had a winning season before was the difference between the playoffs or not for us.

  • Ted Nelson

    I still don’t agree with your “sheer volume” theory. It’s possible, but if you miss out on the top 2 or 3 guys (either extensions or just sign elsewhere) there is a huge drop off. Does Greinke have the make-up? Does Danks have the consistency? How will Sanchez transition to the AL East and YS3 with his HR-rates? How much are the Yankees willing to gamble on those questions? For free agents that young it might have to be a lot. All of those guys besides Greinke also play on high spending teams that might not let them walk without a good fight. I’m fine with Greinke, but it’s a question whether the Yankees are.

    Guthrie, McCarthy, and Liriano are quality options? Maybe history will prove me wrong, but I’d take CJ, Buehrle, E-Jax, and Kuroda over them in a heart-beat… and Darvish seems like a good bet to be better too.

    I really think we’re a couple of contract extensions away from next season’s free agent SP market being thinner than this season’s. Younger, sure, but thinner. Maybe they don’t sign those extensions and it’s legen-dary, but maybe McCarthy is getting a 4 year $50 million deal so some team can realize he’s a product of the Coliseum. Or Guthrie is getting signed through age 37.

    • Jose M. Vazquez..

      I agree with you Ted. We should not be sleeping and waiting for the 2012 so called crop of FA pitchers. I say act now an bid well for Darvish. If there is anything of quality next year and it does not interfere with the projected 2014 plan then sign whoever it is. That may not be necessary as I think one or two of the current prospects will make it at least in 2013 with an outside chance for 2012.

  • Granderslam

    Via @YankeeSource on Twitter: A scout: “The Yankees like Darvish but is he a big upgrade over Noesi? Both have + FB, good command but Noesi has more experience.”

    • MannyGeee

      yikes. seems like a generalization to me. you know who else has a ‘+ FB’ and more experience?

      Kyle Farnsworth.

      • CMP

        Don’t forget AJ.

        From everything I’ve read, Darvish seems to have a much higher ceiling than Noesi.

        • Chip

          Is that higher ceiling worth 100 million dollars? I think it’s worth the risk but that’s just my opinion. I can see the argument though if the Yankees are really high on Noesi

        • Avi

          Darvish has a much better breaking ball than Noesi. He’s also supposed to have a good change up though I haven’t seen it in any of his YouTube videos.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          Even if Noesi is the equivalent of Darvish (at a #2/3 starter), there’s room in the rotation for both of them, as Freddie is gone after this season and on a reasonable contract at $4 million so he could possibly be traded, and AJ is closer to the end of his contract, so either he or Hughes (however is performing worse) could be moved to the pen. Don’t see how Noesi’s upside has an impact on Darvish if the Yankees are looking for a good, young, somewhat reasonably priced starter.

          • Ted Nelson

            Darvish isn’t all that reasonably priced… so that’s why I think Noesi does have something to do with it.

            CC, Nova, Hughes, Noesi, Phelps, Warren, Banuelos, Betances… Yankees have a lot of depth even without Garcia and Burnett. It doesn’t mean they definitely shouldn’t go hard after Darvish, it just means they shouldn’t necessarily purposefully overpay for Darvish (bid more than they think he’s worth) to make sure that they get him. They can’t control what other teams bid, but they could drastically overpay to increase their chances if they really wanted Darvish.

            • Cris Pengiucci

              There are certainly other options than Darvish that the Yankees currently control and could be more cost effective than Darvish. However, as some of these guys won’t pan out, Darvish, at $10-$12 Mil/season may be the best outside option. With the goal of staying behind the luxury tax threshold (and I assume they mean it), other than sticking with home-grown talent, what options appear better than Darvish? I’d be willing to consider them if I were aware of them.

              Of course, an option that doesn’t exist today may exist in the near future, but as you pointed out, you can’t count on that happening (as in the FA class of 2012).

              • Ted Nelson

                I agree Darvish may possibly be the best outside option. Might be the best overall option. I just think standing pat is also an option they have to consider. Even if/when a whole lot of those guys don’t work out the Yankees could still be looking at a solid rotation. You have 8 guys for 5 spots, so half can fail and you might still be left only needing a #5.

                Also, Yankees might make a really aggressive bid on Darvish confident they’ll get him… only to be out-bid. It’s largely out of their control.

                I have no idea how serious they are about the $189 mill goal. Darvish makes a lot of sense there compared to other free agent options, but not necessarily compared to standing pat. How comfortable they are with standing pat and how serious they are about $189 probably factor into their bid… which they still might lose even if they try to win.

                • CMP

                  Standing pat probably means another year short of the WS.

                  They need to add at least 1 front end starter between now and the trade deadline 2012 in order to have realistic championship aspirations.

                  • Cris Pengiucci

                    Not necessarily true. Nova could continue to be a #2/3 tyoe starter, Garcia could perform as well as last year, AJ & Hughes could rebound and CC could be CC once again. Suddenly, with the offense the Yankees have, they’re real contenders.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    You keep saying this without doing anything to prove it.

                    CC cost the Yankees the Detroit series as much as anything. His crappy performance in Game 3 along with Nova’s freak injury in Game 5. One hit in any number of PAs and the Yankees are matched up against the Rangers in the ALCS with a chance to beat them and the Cardinals for the WC.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      *WS… not WC

                      And how does signing one guy in any way guarantee a WS? Danks was no better than Nova last season. Gio is a walk machine. They could easily trade a better pitcher or even two better pitchers to get one of these guys, and end up moving backwards rather than forwards.
                      Darvish hasn’t performed in MLB.

                • I Live In My Mom’s Basement

                  One advantage of standing pat is that they could potentially increase the value of Noesi (and even Warren/Phelps) as part of a trade. There is a big difference between having #4-5 “potential” and actually proving they can pitch in the ML. A 25 year old who has performed above replacement level in the Bigs has some actual trade value. The same guy at AAA is just going to be a throw in.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    Good point.

        • Ted Nelson

          “Ceiling” is a fairly subjective thing, and the consensus is wrong more often than right.

    • Mike Axisa

      The “more experience” thing is semantics. Darvish has played against the best players in the world during the Olympics and WBC. Also, if we’re assuming baseball in Japan is AAA caliber, then he’s got about 1000 innings of AAA experience on Noesi.

      Also, it’s not an either/or thing. The Yankees can have Noesi and Darvish.

      • CS Yankee

        CJ was a decent signing by the Angels…and will be their #3. He clearly would have been our #2.

        This tells me that Cash & CO are waiting for that Lee-type arm and with his former/current success (with limited wear/tear) they have to be big-time on Darvish; as they want another Ace.

        Nova, Noesi, and the B’s all give them legit 3-5 type arms mixed with their current 3-5’s (Freddy, AJ & Phil) and they likely lead the league in those type of pitchers with a few possible upsides being Manny, Phil the “No’s” (Nova/Noesi).

        I bet they throw a 100-120M$ (contract included) at the (well educated) gamble in Yu as the (AAA) kids are just kids.

        Run with the big boys on this one Cash or we’ll think your stuck on the porch peeing like a pup.

      • jayd808

        So where was your clever play-on-words YU headliner? I am so bummed out, I was counting on you, I mean, YU…

  • Gonzo

    This is going to be a fun week and a half. Whatever goes down, I hope we hear what really happened.

    Hopefully it all works out one way or the other.

  • Chip

    I haven’t heard anything on this but I assume Darvish had to use an American baseball during the WBC? That could go a long way to those who assume his stuff will be diminished with the different ball

    • Gonzo

      That’s a good pickup. Either way, his WBC stats don’t look that impressive if you take out that 1st game against China.

      Did Darvish face Cespedes in the Olympics? Cuba beat him there in 2008 too.

      • Gonzo

        Actually his stats, sans China game, are decent in the WBC. I stand corrected. A ton of strikeouts, but a 5 walks in 9 innings with 7 hits. 4 runs and 3 earned in 9 IP.

        • Ted Nelson

          Tiny sample, I’m not sure we can conclude much about his transition to MLB over the next 5 seasons from it.

          • Gonzo

            Correct, just responding to the OP.

  • J

    I can’t see Matt Cain and his career 38% GB rate, and 0.8 GB/FB ratio, coming to Yankee Stadium and the AL East and having success.
    I can see the Yankees passing on Greinke due to his issues.
    Jeremy Guthrie has never had an FIP lower than 4.4. I’m not sure why you even mentioned him. He sucks.
    Francisco Liriano could have a rebound year and be a target – or could fall apart again and suck.
    Brandon McCarthy is a big injury risk, who knows if he will even be healthy when FA hits next year.

    That leaves Anibal Sanchez, Shaun Marcum, Cole Hamels and John Danks as the only pitchers, as of now, worth a signing on your list. Two play for high payroll teams that will likely try to extend them.
    If Sanchez and Hamels sign extentions, next years FA market starts looking pretty thin.
    There is elite talent on the market now – sign it. Rosterbating about the future is how you wind up getting nobody.

    • Ted Nelson

      Who knows if it will be in this case, but sometimes getting nobody is the right thing to do.

  • Nathan

    Eh, why not? The past few years all I’ve been hearing about is how good Darvish is and he looked pretty good in world baseball games. He doesn’t cost draft picks and the posting fee isn’t counted so why not? The biggest advantage the Yankees have is cash and if all this guy costs is cash I don’t see why they wouldn’t give it a shot since the guy plays a position of need.

    Sure, he could be Igawa but he could also be better than Kuroda. Based on his numbers in Japan, I’m guessing he’ll be at least a solid MLB pitcher.

  • Miles

    The Yanks will put in a bid. They have scouted him and assigned a monetary value to acquisition which they will bid. That value will include his reduced impact on the luxury tax as well as viable short term and long term alternatives. As Hank says they look at all available alternatives. This is the same process they went through with Nakajima. The only surprise there was that they won with such a low bid.

    The only way they don’t bid is if they assign a near zero value, which doesn’t seem likely. The question is whether their value is higher than other bidders.

    My guess is that Cashman has been playing wet blanket to keep other bids down. I’d handicap the chances of landing him at 50/50. Frankly, If I were Cashman, I would rather spend $100MM, have him under perform than pass, and watch him win 20 games a year for the next 5 with the Rangers or Red Sox.

    This comparison may not be fair, but if his floor is a healthy Daisuke, given all the considerations we know of, he’s worth the gamble.

    • Nathan


      We know that the Red Sox will bid high on a player that they want/need, as seen with Matsuzaka. Right now, the Red Sox will want to put 2011 in the rear view mirror as quickly as possible and the way to do that is to win. They also need pitching help which would leads me to believe that they are going to bid and bid highly on Darvish. Texas, Washington and Toronto are also in the hunt.

      Sign Darvish and you keep him off another team’s staff. If he turns into a pitcher as good as his stuff is, and goes to another team, the Yankees will have nobody to blame but themselves.

      • Rookie

        I will be shocked if the Red Sox aren’t VERY aggressive bidders on the posting fee and very tough negotiators on his contract if they win it. And I have to think that they’re more likely than anyone to win it since they seem to have no compunction about playing close to the line — as in bidding way, way high (to keep him from the Yankees, the Rangers, etc.) and then offering way, way low — which I can’t imagine Cashman and the Yankees doing.

  • Miles Davis

    i say go for darvish. he’s a risk sure but he can be a huge reward and if he fails miserably after a year, you hide him in AAA like igawa even tho he’ll be making more money then igawa did. then you go for the 2013 FA market

  • Dillon

    I don’t know why most reports cite the failed Kei Igawa as a reason the Yanks might be shy.

    The Kei Igawa signing was a pure panic move from the start and he wasn’t even highly regarded as a MLB prospect. Everyone knew the Yankees overpaid for Igawa right from the start. They were just overreacting to the Red Sox getting Dice-K.

    Also, I don’t think Dice-K has been a failure for the Red Sox. The hype around him was pretty high so it would have been hard to live up to but he had two very good seasons for them before injuries hampered him. Injuries can happen to any pitcher.

    By most scouting reports Yu Darvish is better than Dice-K and he also is physically bigger which may help with endurance issues. He did pitch against MLB’ers at the World Baseball Classic and was excellent.

    I hope the Yanks are just playing coy because I think they absolutely should go after him hard. If he falls flat on his face at least he won’t cost as much against the salary cap as Burnett.

  • Nyyanx23

    I like what Cashman is doing.I think Darvish will be mediocre in the states. remember Irabu (The Japanese Nolan Ryan)he was talked about in the same way Darvish is now. I am not saying he will be as awful as Kei Igawa was but will he really be worth over 100 million? I doubt it.

  • CrazyTrain


    I love the comparison between Yu and the performance of other japanese players. It’s actually pretty racist. There are no tangible factors except for maybe the ball size or strike zone. Cultural differences? Pressure? I’m not sure how that would affect anything because Yu is Yu, and Dice K is Dice K… and oh… Irabu is Irabu. They are different people with different physicalities, different work ethic, different coaching, psychology… EVERYTHING.

    Even it was remotely close to true, there’s not enough of a sample size to even talk about it!