Months later, Darvish still hasn’t commented on the matter.
But that hasn’t stopped MLB teams from scouting him and dreaming of how he might fare near the top of a big league starting rotation.
In late June, Rangers GM Jon Daniels headed to Japan to see Darvish for himself. Many other front office executives have done the same. And every major league club is at least keeping some form of tabs on the 6-foot-5 right-hander.
Darvish registered a 1.82 ERA as a rookie in 2007, a 1.88 ERA in 2008, a 1.73 ERA in 2009, and a 1.78 ERA in 2010. This season, he is 13-2 with a miniscule 1.44 ERA for the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Even with Daisuke Matsuzaka‘s failures, Darvish stands to make millions upon millions if he agrees to test out the posting process. He is Japan’s highest-paid player at $6 million annually. In the U.S., he could easily double that.
In fact, I strongly suspect the New York Yankees, despite the nightmare that was Kei Igawa, will move heaven & earth to win the rights to Mr. Darvish’s services.
Simply put, in a market devoid of quality free agent pitching for the next season and change, this is by far the most effective way to upgrade their rotation without having to hand over the keys to their entire farm system.
We have ALL seen the outlandish package the Rockies indicated they wanted for Ubaldo Jimenez and there is rampant speculation about what it would take to pry King Felix away from the Seattle Mariners.
The scenario for either would look something like this:
- The Yankees receive Felix Hernandez or Ubaldo Jimenez…
- The Rockies or Mariners receive Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Adam Warren and/or David Phelps AND Ivan Nova.
I’m sorry, but that is a ridiculously high price to pay for a pitcher, even a top-tier, ace of the staff type guy.
You are giving up 4 or 5 guys who all have the looks of being major league pitchers that range from serviceable/solid to the ace of a staff, while sprinkling a 21 year old with unlimited potential at the dish on top.
Granted, prospects are just prospects until they do something to change that fact, but as a form of currency alone they are worth their weight in gold.
If you make that deal you not only strip your organization of pitching depth, but you also no longer have those trade chips to go out and make other moves that may be necessary down the road.
No, the smart play is to hold onto those young guns and see if one or more of them can be developed into your own ace of the future.
If you are the Yankees especially your best bet is to take the one currency you have in seemingly endless amounts, real currency, and throw great big bags of it at Yu Darvish’s team (and then him) to bolster your rotation should he ever be submitted for the posting process.
It’s a roll of the dice, no doubt about it.
But then again, so is any move you make. Might was well choose the one that would be the least costly should it blow up in your face.