Despite a report to the contrary earlier in the week, Yu Darvish claims that he’s undecided about whether he’ll ask to be posted this winter, allowing MLB teams to bid for the rights to his services, and assuring a spring 2012 MLB debut.
Patrick Newman of the awesome NPB Tracker, which follows Japanese baseball for all of us and reports on it in English, posts this super-terrific emoticon-y translation of an entry on Yu’s personal blog dated October 19th:
Articles saying “Confirmed: Darvish to the Majors!” have been appearing since yesterday.
As I mentioned on Twitter
Nothing is decided!!
I haven’t decided anything for myself so nothing can be confirmed.(^_^;)
It was an article from the Kyodo News, but what did they base their writing on?
You can say this is freedom of press, but with freedom comes responsibility.
I want a press that takes responsibility.
Every year, when I haven’t decided anything, they write “Majors this, Majors that”, but then when I don’t go they just make up excuses.
How did they write lies and escape responsibility?
Well, after the entire schedule is over, I will carefully think it over!
As soon as I decide I will let everyone know(^^)v
Delightful. But believe it or not, that hasn’t exactly stemmed the rampant speculation.
In a tweet yesterday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post listed “the Rangers, Blue Jays, Nationals, Mariners and Royals as the favorites to land Darvish this winter, in that order,” explains MLB Trade Rumors. Sherman tweets that he doesn’t have the Yankees on the list because they’ve been burned too many times by high posting fees– thank you very much, Kei Igawa.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, for the record, doesn’t see a fit between the Mariners and Darvish. That’s mostly because the Mariners have a pair of great pitchers already in the majors, and a bunch of very good, young, cheap, controllable ones– Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton (yes, that James Paxton)– knocking on the door.
As for what it will take to get him, Tim Dierkes of MLBTR spoke to an unnamed agent, who figured that Darvish is in line for a five-year $75-million deal, with a $50-million posting fee, whereas Jon Heyman of SI spoke to a GM who figured it would be over $100-million between the contract and the fee.
It’s a lot of money, but it sounds like there’s good reason for it. “You know how Justin Verlander throws 93-94 and then in moments of duress pumps his fastball at 99?” a scout asks Buster Olney of ESPN. “That’s what this guy does. He’s throwing 92-93, easy, and with runners on base and two strikes on the batter, he’ll roll out a 95-96 mph fastball.”
In the same piece, Olney says this about the Rangers’ pursuit:
An AL source says the Rangers will make a competitive offer for Wilson, but they will not get into a bidding war with the Yankees, who are expected to make him their No. 1 priority. Some scouts think Wilson, who turns 31 in November, is not worth ace dollars because his 2.94 ERA this year is a by-product of his 10 starts against the Rangers’ light-hitting AL West rivals in Oakland and Seattle. As it is, the Rangers have already set their sights on Yu Darvish.
If their pursuit of Darvish falls through, the Rangers could make a run at righthander James Shields, whom the Rays might make available this winter before his salary starts to escalate. Tampa Bay always has an eye on the bottom line, and Texas has the young talent the Rays covet. “The great thing about the Rangers is they have a lot of different ways to get better,” says a National League GM. “They have money to spend and prospects to trade, and they already have a great team. They will figure it out.”
Makes sense. Judging by the comments I’ve seen around here, most fans would rather Darvish than Wilson– a sentiment I feel strongly about myself. The Rangers sound like they feel much the same way, but the Jays, as we all know, don’t have anything preventing them from landing the phenom except themselves.