Trouble In Paradise

I’ll never forget that fateful day, so many years ago, when my mother took me aside and explained very carefully that not only were her and my father splitting up, but also it was entirely my fault. Ever since then, I’ve had a bit of a soft spot for the kids of divorced couples, and that’s why it saddens me to report that Japansese pitching phenom Yu Darvish and his wife of four years, actress Saeko Dōkyū, are divorcing. They have two children.

Obviously, more important than the impact that the dissolution of their marriage will have on their progeny is how the divorce proceedings will affect Darvish’s potential posting and eventual availability for MLB teams. At least, that’s the tone that this USA Today article took on the subject.

Personally, I was surprised to learn that Darvish was married at all. I fully expected that any time he’d get close to tying the knot, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters’ ace would grow suddenly non-committal and force his betrothed to set up a news alert with MLBTradeRumors.com in order to learn of his latest leanings.

The last we heard on Darvish’s possible move to Major League Baseball came from an interview with his father Farad earlier this month, in which the elder Darvish suggested that it was about 50-50 as to whether or not Darvish would be posted. There’s absolutely no way to tell what a divorce could mean to the likelihood of the much talked about pitcher making his MLB debut next season.

However, the impending divorce means that there’s probably at least one more person especially interested in learning what Darvish will command in terms of a contract if/when a Major League team wins the bidding process for his services. Much like Albert Pujols’ free agent standing among position players, which we discussed earlier, C.J. Wilson was widely believed to be the best free agent option among starting pitchers. However, interest among teams in actually acquiring his services has been relatively muted.

Perhaps that’s due, at least in part, to Darvish’s unknown status, which is only made murkier by news of his lack of domestic bliss. If Darvish decides not to request posting, he’s still two years away from being eligible for international free agency.

A couple of weeks ago, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan quoted sources that claimed Darvish wanted to change the posting system in Japan and make a difference for future players making the jump from the NPB to the MLB. More than one executive feared that he’d prolong his career in Japan as a means of protesting the current system and ensuring that his team and league didn’t get money for the sale of his services.