One player the Yankees have scouted heavily is Yu Darvish. And there is strong belief around the game that the top starter in Japan will, indeed, be posted this offseason and come to the States.
“He is coming, period,” one personnel man said.
The Yankees have had sour experience with high-profile Japanese pitchers Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa, whose five-year contract finally expires this year. And the last can’t-miss Japanese pitcher to come to the majors, Daisuke Matsuzaka, was hardly a bonanza for the Red Sox.
So you wonder if there will be greater financial caution with Darvish this winter or will the hunger for pitching motivate teams to bid. I will say this, I have not sensed that the Igawa experience will take the Yankees, for example, out of the Japanese marketplace.
Darvish is certainly attractive as a pitcher. He is 6-foot-5, 25 years old, pitches at 93-94 mph with the ability to touch higher than that and is known for having an inventive and competitive spirit on the mound. He is 15-3 with a 1.59 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 158 innings for the Nippon Ham Fighters.