Why I Would Avoid Yu Darvish

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos was in Japan earlier this week watching 25 year old pitcher Yu Darvish win his 16th game of the season for the Nippon Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League. The Blue Jays join a list of six other teams that have had reported interest in Darvish over the last year.

Over the last five years, the phenom has accumulated a strikeout to walk ratio of 4.79 in what many consider the top professional baseball league outside of the Majors. Over the same amount of time, the only MLB starter with a better strikeout to walk comparison is Roy Halladay and his K:BB ratio of 5.44.

Here’s what ESPN’s Keith Law had to say about Darvish back in the summer of 2009:

[He throws] seven different pitches if you count the two- and four-seam fastballs separately. He’ll work in the low 90s with the four-seamer, but the 87-91 mph two-seamer might be the better pitch because of its sharp downward tailing action. He also throws a hard slider from 84 to 87 mph with a sharp, long break and good tilt, as well as a curve, a “slurve” that’s in between the two breaking balls, a so-so splitter and a shuuto. He works largely with the fastballs and the slider, and if he can sharpen the splitter or settle into a split-change, that would be more than enough for him to go through an MLB lineup three times. Darvish, who is half-Iranian, is unusually tall for a Japanese pitcher at 6-foot-5, and has a tremendous track record of success in the NPB, the top professional baseball league in the world after MLB.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Darvish’s representatives were preparing for a potential posting by his current team, which would make him available to negotiate a contract with the highest bidding MLB organization this winter. When estimating what type of posting fee would win such an auction, I don’t know where to begin.

Many are suggesting that a good starting point would be the $51 million that the Boston Red Sox paid for Daisuke Matsuzaka. Dice-K and Darvish share many similarities when it comes to age and image: both would be beginning their MLB careers around the same age with a reputation for dominance and somewhat of an aura about them that was earned in the NPB. However, where Matsuzaka was overworked to the point of throwing more than 1400 innings before turning 26, Darvish has thrown just over 1,000  innings during his career in Japan.

However, one must remember the arms race going on between the Red Sox and Yankees at the time, and how insane it made everyone involved. Things have tempered a bit. Last season, there was talk that a posting fee might be as little as $25 million.

That amount seems small, considering that the Oakland A’s reportedly bid $19 million for negotiating rights to Hisashi Iwakuma this past offseason, failing to come to terms with him on a deal. While Darvish will be another year older this winter, it’s after another year in which he consistently dominated batters. His reputation in Japan is that of a rock star, and the Japanese team selling his rights aren’t likely doing so for pocket change.

However, the posting fee isn’t all there is to consider. We also have to look at what his first contract might entail. We could again look at Matsuzaka, whose contract with the Boston Red Sox (6 years at $52 million) only appears to be truly awful when it’s combined with the money the team spent on his posting fee. We might also compare Darvish to Stephen Strasburg, another young, but unproven phenom who signed a deal for a total of $22.6 million (including bonus) for his first four seasons in the league.

I’d suggest that Darvish, at 25 when he presumably signs a deal this offseason, is more of a known entity than Strasburg when he signed his first contract at 21. Darvish isn’t going to be brought along slowly in the Minor Leagues. The expectations on him will be large and immediate no matter what team ends up acquiring his services.

Earlier this month, we saw Jered Weaver sign what many considered to be a team friendly contract with the Los Angeles Angels, giving up his final year of arbitration and four years of free agency for $85 million. While it’s certainly a stretch to imagine Darvish being given the type of money Weaver agreed to, given the league that he’s pitched in and the money spent on a posting fee likely playing a factor in any contract agreement, a dollar figure between Matsuzaka’s and Weaver’s respective deals isn’t too far fetched considering the underwhelming class of starting pitching on the free agent market this winter after C.C. Sabathia (potentially), C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle.

While it’s pure speculation on my part, it makes sense to me that any team securing the rights to negotiate and actually come to an agreement with Yu Darvish must be willing to spend something in the $100 million range. That’s a lot of money to be spent on a pitcher that hasn’t thrown a single inning of Major League Baseball, especially considering the relative cheapness with which a team can acquire other unproven entities through the draft or with Central American prospects.

Perhaps most damning of all when it comes to spending large posting fees and expensive contracts for Japanese pitching is that the history of doing so is fraught with so many bad investments.

Six pitchers from the NPB have been signed by Major League Teams after paying posting fees, here’s the total amount that the team spent on the player (posting fee plus initial contract), and the value by WAR according to FanGraphs that they brought back to their organization based on what the same player would make in free agency.

  • Kazuhisa Ishii, LAD: $23.6 million cost; $2.5 million return + a negative $1.6 million return for one year of Jason Phillips (acquired in trade for Ishii).
  • Ramon Ramirez, NYY: $0.35 million cost; $0 return.
  • Akinori Otsuka, SDP: $1.8 million cost; $7.1 million return + additional return as part of trade that brought back Adrian Gonzalez, Terrmel Sledge and Chris Young.
  • Shinji Mori, TBR: $2.15 million cost; $0 return.
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka, BOS: $103 million cost; $44 million return.
  • Kei Igawa, NYY: $46 million cost; a negative $0.8 million return.

Using the idea that a each win above replacement cost $5 million on the free agent market this year, while assuming an inflation rate of 5% per year, we can get a rough idea of how Darvish would have to perform in order to live up to a team spending $100 million on him for the next five years of his career.

He would have to accumulate something around 17 wins above replacement for that to work out. So, he’d have to be in the top twenty pitchers in the league over a five year period in order for a team spending $100 million to theoretically break even. Of course, the whole idea of spending in baseball is to do better than break even, but let’s look at some of the pitchers you would have to believe he will be as good as in order to justify the signing.

These are the pitchers with more than 17 wins above replacement (according to FanGraphs) over the last five years:

Roy Oswalt, Adam Wainwright, Javier Vazquez, Mark Buehrle, James Shields, Matt Cain, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Jered Weaver, Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke, Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Tim Lincecum, Justin Verlander, C.C. Sabathia and Roy Halladay.

I haven’t had the benefit of seeing Yu Darvish pitch in anything other than highlight reels and there’s no doubt that his numbers are impressive in the NPB, but I would have a hard time justifying an expectation of endurance and performance level that equals any of the top twenty pitchers in baseball without him first throwing a pitch in the Major Leagues.

Comments (58)

  1. I’ve never ever seen you make a post suggesting that the Jays SHOULD spend money on a player.

  2. Draft picks and central america. Trades. I would listen to arguments on Prince Fielder or another FA this winter.

  3. Parkes, this would be a huge gamble. I think that successful huge gambles are going to be necessary in order to compete for a playoff berth under the current MLB structure. Even adding a wildcard team only makes it marginally easier for the Blue Jays. I don’t think that Darvish would be the only domino to fall if he ends up in Toronto, because he alone doesn’t make the Jays contenders. Darvish plus another monster investment like the royal buffet clearing 1B out of Milwakee would go a long way towards serious contention. So my vote is Darvish alone = No. Darvish plus Prince = yes please.

    Go big or go home AA.

    • Darvish should be given his 350k MLB minimum wage and sent to AAA where he can acclimatize and earn a roster spot.

      Most Japanese won’t do this because they know once they get into a competitive environment Stateside, they won’t have all the advanatages afforded them by the Japanese system and their numbers won’t be so gaudy.

      In short, they’ll have to actually prove they can compete for that kind of money.

      And it scares the living daylights out of them.

      No, Yu will hold out for millions based on the phony numbers he’s compiled in NPB in front of people who think they’re comparable to MLB numbers.

  4. I understand that the contract + postings fee will equal a large number. But looking at this from a Rogers point of view, could they not use Yu Darvish’s rock star image among the Asian population, and market the Blue Jays brand in Japan? to match that of the Yankees and Red Sox in that market. or even the rogers brand? (“use rogers cell service… Yu Darvish does”) . A Darvish signing could also attract large amounts of the Asian population within Toronto and across Canada, I personally think it would. I know this may be the wrong angle but I feel that Rogers would push AA to acquire a player (Darvish) not as a baseball acquisition but a profitable business move for rogers.

    • Unfortunately Mike Roger has nothing to sell in Japan so his popularity in Japan means nothing here. Toronto doesn’t have a massive Japanese population, and other Asians will not come to see Yu Darvish pitch because he’s Japanese. Several wars and war time atrocities have taken care of that possibility.

      • If they sign Darvish, between him and Lawrie the Jays would have the lower mainland locked up…life exists outside of Toronto.

      • Are you kidding me? Have you been to a Jays game when Matsuzaka first came to pitch? Half the place was filled with Japanese people!

        And as an Asian myself, I can tell you that other Asians (Korean and Taiwanese – the two that are really into baseball) would be heavily interested in seeing him pitch. I could care less about the war time atrocities from a baseball perspective.

  5. @ Chill:

    Go big or go home? Then the Jays should go for Prince and CC.

  6. The only guy that is a close comparable to Darvish on that list is Dice-K and you admit in your post that his arm was abused while Darvish’s has not been. At some point, the Jays are going to spend some money on free agents. The one benefit of signing Darvish is that there is not a compensation draft pick leaving as a result of signing him as there would be for Fielder, Pujols, etc. The cost for Darvish is strictly money and if he is considered a rock star in Japan, that could mean some marketing dollars for the Jays that would offset some of the cost. Plus, he’s half Iranian, which might draw some of the Iranian population in Toronto to the ballpark.

    The other consideration for signing Darvish is to keep him off the Yankees or Red Sox. Darvish would upgrade either of their rotations and the last thing the Jays need is for the Yankees or Sox to get stronger.

    • looking at yu as partially a marketing investment is not a bad idea.

      • high-end celebrity endorsements typically run in the 10s of millions of dollars, take some of the cash from rogers’ marketing budget!

      • As with Dice K, there will be no marketing dollars.

        If you haven’t already heard, Boston fans are already giving up that line of defense of Dice-K when a Boston reporter found out that the Red Sox received absolutely no financial benefit from Japanese audiences in the entire time that the “Gyroball hurler” was with them.

        Japanese media retained all benefits for Dice-K’s marketing commercials and MLB uses a revenue sharing system (and not even they felt a bump in overall revenue).

        As a marketing venture, Daisuke was a flop.

    • Just curious, but how big is the Iranian population in Toronto anyway? It’s been a while since I’ve sauntered through little Tehran.

      • If you’re going to cheer for a player based on ethnicity, more power to ya.

        That’s what Japanese audiences do after all, and it’s why the NPB is under such pressure to generate “Japanese stars”.

        The result is that the NPB calls bigger strike zones for Japanese pitchers than for gaijin pitchers, limits the number of foreign-born players on baseball teams and restricts the contracts of non-Japanese players.

  7. Basically, yeah. It comes down to how good AA et al think the whirling Darvish is going to be, of course. I heard from Law not long ago that he talked to many scouts, none of whom saw him as an ace and most putting him as a mid rotation guy, maybe upside as a 2.

    If the Jays really think Darvish is going to be an ace, of the Sabathia/Halladay/Weaver etc caliber, then I’d spend the $100+ and go hard after him. If he’s going to be Jeff Niemann, then there are better ways to spend that cash, and cheaper ways to come up with a Jeff Niemann for yourself.

    It would be fun for the Jays to be in on Yu, but I’m leaning to it not being worth it.

    • This is pretty much how I feel. If AA and his army of scouts see enough of Darvish to be utterly convinced that he has what it takes to be, almost certainly, a frontline starter RIGHT FUCKING NOW then he is absolutely worth the kind of investment that we are talking about. At a certain point you need to be ready to trust your staff enough to take big risks if you are ever going to overtake the other teams in this division. I also agree with what another poster said: if this risk is going to be taken then getting in on Fielder or Pujols makes a heck of a lot of sense as well.

      If the organization thinks that Darvish is not a slam dunk to be a star then of course it is a bad move.

  8. It’s all about opportunity cost. What possible assets do the Jays become unable to afford by acquiring him?

    I wonder if this deal could come down a lot to the timing. When the big free agents get signed after this year and who they go to may dictate the course of action? Are there deadlines for posting and coming to an agreement?

  9. If it comes down to Prince or Yu, I’d have to do with Prince.

  10. Can someone explain why we are shilling for Prince and not Pujols? Serious question.

    • 5 yrs younger, less of an angry man, i don’t think anyone really expects pujols to go anywhere other than STL or possibly CHI for a dumptruck full of unmarked, non-sequential million dollar bills.

    • Age? Prince is 28 and King is 32. Maybe 2 more more productive seasons from Prince than Pujols.

      However, Albert can play 1st well, Prince is destined for DH…its more or less a toss-up.

  11. this raises a good point – the jays need to acquire a top-shelf pitcher somehow to make a push during jose’s superhuman years. if 100m for darvish is too much, and cc and cj are not great options, who should they be targeting via trades, as parkes suggests?

  12. Assuming he stays healthy $100M is not just a good investment, it’s great. Check out this article (it’s a little old), specifically the ‘Marketing in Japan’ section:


  13. Almost all of CCSabathia’s mystique is derived from his Brewers playoff run and his inflated win total with NYY. I’d rather have CJ Wilson if were going acronyms.

    • Strongly disagree.

      • Drew you beat me to this.

        CC has a career:
        K/9 7.65
        BB/9 2.75
        HR/9 0.78
        WHIP 1.22
        FIP 3.51 xFIP 3.70

        Since joining the AL East:
        K/9 7.89
        BB/9 2.53
        HR/9 0.70
        WHIP 1.17
        FIP 3.26 xFIP 3.47

        He improved in each of these catagories after moving to the dreaded AL East!

        Plus he has thrown well over 200 innings in his last 5 seasons ( and averaging around ~190 innings in each of the 6 seasons before that).

        If you think CC is overrated than you are plain wrong.

  14. I’ve written before about the money earned back through investment in Asian players. It’s just not there:


    • But one could make the argument that there is a larger Asian community in Canada (or even Toronto) than in Boston. Plus Boston doesn’t have to leverage themselves worldwide. Toronto does. Think Ichiro and the Mariners brand. It became so huge in Japan that Nintendo now owns them, and I’m sure we’ve all seen the ads in Japanese at Safeco.

      • And by Asian I meant Japanese specifically. Finding numbers on Japanese population led to a lot of websites with general Asian populations for cities.

  15. The biggest hurdle for any pitcher coming out of Japan is going to be dealing with MLB lineups. I can only assume some 7-9 hitters in the AL are better than the best hitter on a NPB team (Im clearly speaking out of my ass, but prove me wrong).
    I dont see how the 1400 innings Dice K threw, and the overall abuse his arm took, had anything to do with his 120 pitch count by the 5th.
    Yu has never had to deal with the Red Sox and Yankees of the world. And unless Divisions are a thing of the past in 2012, I dont think he fares too well in the AL East.

    • A star in Japan but probably a disappointment here. The hitting in Japan would be manhandled by 30-40 of MLBs’ best starters.

  16. I seem to recall quite a few lengthy arguments about why AA should wait to sign Jose B. to an extension. The logic fits in very well with your comment that it is a lot of money for a pitcher who has yet to throw a pitch in the Major Leagues. Bautista’s extension was a lot of money for a player who had really only had one good year.

    The first point is that the decision obviously has to made before Darvish throws his first pitch in North America.

    The second point is that we all have opinions but the only one that really matters belongs to AA. If we stick to ‘in AA we trust’ then the conclusion isn’t that the Jays shouldn’t pay up for Darvish but rather that IF they did then AA believes that he is getting a front-line, number 1, Ichiro-as-a-pitcher talent. If AA has that kind of conviction then I am all over the idea of throwing a little Vernon money in that direction.

    • He’s using pretty much the same logic in both cases. Although I think this time it’s a little more sensible, because nobody here really has any idea how Darvish will do in the majors (he could be a superstar or he could bust, but he’ll probably end up somewhere in the middle). I wouldn’t have a problem with Rogers actually using some of their money to sign him (and I think there are major outside benefits to signing him), but you can make the argument that they would be better off going after more established free agents this offseason.

      In Bautista’s case, the guy was coming off an elite power season and pitchers had no idea how to get him out. His contract was a great risk to take.

  17. Ask Theo Epstein how the whole marketing and Japanese corporate sponsorship saga went for him…Scott Boras used arguments like that to ratchet up Dice-K’s value years ago and Boston never reaped significant financial gains from it. All that being said though IF the blue jays think Darvish has ace potential, at the age of 25, I think he’d be worth a 100 million investment. When your acquiring elite talent I think expecting surplus value is a little much, production has to outweigh “value” when it puts you over the top and into the playoffs.

  18. I’m with James: “What possible assets do the Jays become unable to afford by acquiring him?”

    As long as he’s not costing the Jay’s a proven asset, such as Fielder etc. even if he’s not an ace for the Jays, I think he’s a good pickup. Maybe I’m being optimistic, but I do think Ricky Romero is an ace, and by that I mean a guy who can win 16 games a season consistently. So if Darvish can come in and be a solid 2 or 3 pitcher with Brandon Morrow then the pitching staff becomes fairly deep. That’s even more true if Alvarez becomes a solid pro.

    Not to mention all the marketing stuff that was mentioned above that makes him an attractive grab,

    But I really need to emphasize that this is based on not giving up the opportunity on a big time free agent. What the Jays really need is another consisten possibly big bat, to compliment Joey Bats and Brett “the hitman” Lawrie

  19. @Josh Exactly.

    That Hard Ball Times article makes no legitimate correlation between the addition of an Asian player and increased revenue, just that they both happened at the same time. The sun also rose every day during that period of time, therefore the sun caused the Yankees and Mariners to make money.

    • Just a quick point about how this whole correlation thing works. First, yes, causation is difficult to prove (and I’m not saying it’s there) — but two variables changing at approximately the same time is one of the necessary components. The point about the sun rising is not helping you here — the sun rising each day did not change in any observable manner around the same time as the acquisition of the players in question, or the revenues – it rose in a surprisingly consistent manner well before and well after. You’re using the ‘sun rising’ correlation example the wrong way.

  20. The Mariners increasing revenue more than any other team in the league? The same city that lost their NBA team? As well as losing Griffey and Johnson? Yet their revenues increase significantly? I think their might be something to the story.

  21. Unlike Pujols, Prince has never spent any time on the DL. This isn’t meant to imply that Pujols is injury prone by any stretch but he is the older player and can’t claim a prestine health record the way Fielder can. Pujols is one of the best overall talents but going forward Fielder would look like the better investment.

  22. If our one strong suit is pitching and we are developing pitchers for the future, then why the heck would it make sense to bring over Darvish. We are going to be spending money on the one area where it looks like the Jays could develop players in house and not have to spend all that money on one player.

    Not to mention, if we spend it on one player then we are going to be taking it out of the pockets of future talent this organization hopes to keep locked up. You can’t just say it’s Rogers money so spend all you want. It just simply doesn’t work that way because Rogers has a budget for the Blue Jays. If you want to seriously screw this organization up for the future then sure, spend the 100+ million dollars. But don’t come crying when he gets injured or doesn’t live up to his potential.

    • i think aa wants to contend next year, and the arms on the farm are a couple years away, and will come in at the back-end of the rotation. that leaves a few holes to fill in the immediate future.

      • That’s what AA said he would not do. If he throws away his plan and goes for it next year he is essentially deviating from his own plan. I don’t see it happening until the current players prove they can be more consistent and we are actually in the race down the stretch. It is just too much of a gamble.

  23. Next Parkes is going to write the article – Why I Would Avoid Sabathia & Pujols.

  24. Parkes – after such a strong article in BP today, you swung way over top of this one. Because 6 different Japanese pitchers bombed after posting (well, five of six, really), that means that Darvish will bomb? By what reasoning? Listen to the scouts. Six is a ridiculously small sample, of which one should not even think about coming to conclusions. Darvish is nothing like any of the six pitchers, not even Matsuzaka. While you might compare their numbers, you might also compare the numbers of Oswalt and Halladay similarly. I read the same as what everyone else has read, and Darvish has gotten high grades all around, with most pundits looking at him as a #2 – right now. Sure, invest in Latin free agents and the draft – but that is the real crap shoot. I follow the prospects as much, if not more, than anyone, yet I realize that most of those kids will never see more than a cup of coffee in the Show, if that much. Darvish will play more in a half-season than the majority. Also, as you pointed out yourself, Darvish is much more the prototypical pitcher in terms of build than his Japanese predecessors.

    You don’t want to sign him, fine. But to use a sample of six guys as your basis is pretty weak-kneed.

  25. You’re forgetting that Darvish is a much better pitcher then any of those mentioned, including ice K. Dice K’s best year wasn’t as good as Darvishs worst year, and Yu has never posted an ERA over 2. In over 740 innings.

    And the overuse isn’t that big a deal. They pitch on more rest over there. Darvishs pitch count for 2010 outs him just inside the top 50 for MLB pitchers, just behind Ricky Romero, if I’m not mistaken.

  26. meh… count me out.

    law and co. may not be the be-all-and-end-all with regard to scouting, but assuming they are right more often than not, there is no way i’d dish out $100mill for 2nd or 3rd starter.

    for sabathia? sure. for cj wilson? probably not. but if it came down to it i’d rather pay wilson (a borderline ace in my books, a bit better than romero) $100mill than an unknown like darvish, and that is despite the gap in age.

    and thats not even getting into fielder/pujols vs. darvish.

    of all the ballsy, exciting moves AA could make this offseason, this is one that i hope he stays away from.

  27. As someone who has been living in Japan and watched Darvish’s games on tv (when I return in 3 weeks and move to Fukuoka, hoping to catch a match of his live during the playoffs), I think he is one of the world’s 20 best pitchers but also have enough concerns that I think the Blue Jays should take a pass if the total passes 60 million fee (posting + contract). First, his fastball has amazing movement when he is on, but if his condition isn’t great it flattens out quite a bit. And although he has not seen the overusage that Dice-K did in Japan, he did have a number of small arm issues in 2010 and his pitch count is regularly pretty high by MLB standards. Darvish is better at conditioning compared to Dice-K however.

    In terms of marketing, Davish is the most well known face in the NPB today, but that doesn’t mean he would bring in the big bucks like Ichiro! or Godzilla (Matsui). Those two players exist in the Japanese mindset on a level much higher than any other recent import, and frankly I don’t see any non-pitchers in the NPB that are comparable at the moment. Dice-K isn’t really that popular in Japan, and what popularity the Sox have in Japan is more tied to their World Series titles and winning record than to the players they employ. That said, having a Japanese or Korean player does garner at least some interest in those respective markets that wouldn’t exist otherwise (living in Korea in 2007 I got to see the TB Rays quite a bit thanks to Jae Seo).

    It’s good however that AA is over there scouting. I feel that the Blue Jays haven’t paid as much attention to Asia as they should, and while the hitting talent isn’t great (one name to keep a long term eye on: Hisayoshi Chono), there is a lot of good pitching talent that can be brought over.

  28. Darvish is likely one of the top 10 pitchers on the planet right now.

  29. I’m not suggesting the Jays should go out and spend all of our cell phone dollars on Darvish, but let me throw a couple things out there.

    There are arguably 2 FA starters on the market this year worth big cash, Rich Harden and CJ Wilson. Each will probably run at least $80 million, perhaps hit the $100 million mark on a deal. I believe they are 30 and 31 years old, respectively. At 25, Darvish is younger and supposedly has better stuff – he may have 7 pitches now but from what I understand they aren’t all great (if he can whittle his repertoire down to 3 or 4 pitches and make them great, that would be ideal). It may cost $125-$150 million to get Darvish, posting fee and contract combined. If the decision comes down to Darvish at $125 million, and CJ Wilson at $100 million, what do you do? It’s an interesting decision to make, for sure.

  30. Having been in Japan and watched Darvish play in the 2009 Niipon world Series for the Fighters against the Giants. I can say he has moments of brilliance. He had some injuries in 2009 that affected him and took him out of some important games. The Jays should be wary of that. Also they need to look at his life style. Recently his personal life has been in a shambles which takes a toll in his ability to focus on the job he is being he is paid for. Darvish has been looking for a MLB team to pay him ridiculous money for the past few years. I agree with Eliot that as good as he can be the Jays should be careful.

    I think what many of you are confusing is the bringing in a Famous Japanese Ball player will some how get more non Japanese Asian people to the Ball Park. This isn’t likely to happen. You might get some sponsorship or ad money from some Japanese companies for a while but only as long as he is doing well. The Jays are not Popular in Japan and Toronto doesn’t rank high on the list of world cities that the Japanese desire to go to.
    Overall at the price I think the Jays be being played.

  31. Dustin Parkes said: “”Over the last five years, the phenom has accumulated a strikeout to walk ratio of 4.79 in what many consider the top professional baseball league outside of the Majors. Over the same amount of time, the only MLB starter with a better strikeout to walk comparison is Roy Halladay and his K:BB ratio of 5.44.”"

    You should be hung at the nearest yardarm for the sheer stupidity of this statement.

    You’re comparing an overrated Japanese pitcher in a AAA league…

    ,,,to Roy Halladay?

    Are you nuts?

  32. AAA? Please. You guys are clueless morons. Not only are most of the guys on the list provided not even close to being comparable to Darvish, Dice K isn’t either. Dice K was a top pitcher in Japan. Yu Darvish dominates Japan. So you get the point, Dice K never had an ERA under 2.00 in Japan. On the other hand, Darvish:

    07: 1.82
    08 1.88
    09 1.73
    10 1.78

    And I’m being generous with “morons”, since the real is racist. We have sent more than a few studly AAA pitchers who didn’t make in the MLB to Japan. None of them even came close to Darvish. Heck, Vogelsong, who came back from Japan, isn’t close to Darvish.

    He’s at something like 1.59 in 11. And the NPB is AAAA and not AAA.

  33. I have an issue with how you compare total expense for the player vs. WAR. I think it’s absolutely inconsistent in terms of analyzing business projects (which is essentially what this is).

    To compare the WAR of a player to their total overall expense is unfair, in my opinion. Considering WAR is a pure baseball measure and that the overall expense amount is partly a posting/bidding fee and partly a salary paid to the player, it’s not fair to measure the two outright against each other.

    Basically you can consider the posting/bidding fee a sunk cost to negotiate a contract with Darvish (or just about any other Japanese player) and you shouldn’t weight that against the performance of the player over the life of his contract. You should really only be using the contract itself to compare the performance of the player.

    As for Darvish, I think he’d be definitely be worth a 5-year $50M type contract that Matsuzaka got (or even more)

    • Why? You can’t just say that, you have to provide a reason for saying it. It’s called making an argument. If it’s part of a total expense to acquiring a player, why shouldn’t it be included in measuring the value of the contract?

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