Yankees Rumors: Likely to Get Involed if Yu Darvish is Posted

Via Hardball Talk:

FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal heard from a source Saturday that right-hander Yu Darvish is likely to be “posted” this winter, meaning teams in Major League Baseball will have a crack at luring him away from the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Darvish is only 24 and widely considered one of the top pitchers in Japan.  He has won two MVP awards in his first five seasons of professional baseball and became the youngest player in Japanese baseball history to be given a contract worth more than 300 million yen (about $3.5 million US) when he re-signed with Nippon last season.

He will have no trouble topping that salary if and when he signs with a team state-side.  The Yankees, according to Rosenthal, have been watching every one of his starts and other teams are sure to step forward with bids as well.

Lots of players have come over from Japan in recent years, but aside from Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki none have become superstars. That’s important to consider because regardless of whether Darvish does or doesn’t become a superstar, he will cost superstar-type money.

Previous big name pitchers from Japan, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Irabu, and to a lesser extent Hideo Nomo have all flopped (Nomo did have some level of success for a short period). Of course all Yankee fans remember Kei Igawa as well. So this has left me skeptical of the latest big name pitcher to come out of Japan, but Patrick Newman of FanGraphs thinks differently.

Newman points out that Darvish has consistently put up better numbers than Dice-K ever did, he has multiple major league level pitches, has strong velocity, changes speeds well, and has youth on his side. He does raise concerns about the fact that he isn’t a huge strikeout pitcher, has a lot of mileage on his young arm, and questions about his makeup and ability to succeed in the United States (Darvish has been outspoken about not wanting to pitch in America).

In the end, I think the Yankees should be cautiously aggressive. They should certainly be involved in this situation and bid aggressively. But they should bid realistically. If there are other teams who could bid $50 million plus for his services they should probably bow out. It seems like he could be better than the best pitcher who has ever come over from Japan, but adapting to pitching in the States could take some time and the pressure of pitching in New York could prolong that. If almost two seasons are lost to an adjustment period, this contract probably wouldn’t be worth it.

Assuming their no. 1 target is still Cliff Lee that would give the Yankees a guaranteed rotation of CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, and Phil Hughes. Andy Pettitte could return as well and even at his advanced age, he still seems like a much better bet than Darvish.

What are your thoughts? Should the Yankees target Darvish this offseason?

Here are Darvish’s stats for 2007-2009:

Year Age Tm W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2007 20 Nippon Ham 15 5 1.82 26 12 3 207.2 123 48 42 9 49 210 0.828
2008 21 Nippon Ham 16 4 1.88 25 10 2 200.2 136 44 42 11 44 208 0.897
2009 22 Nippon Ham 15 5 1.73 23 8 2 182.0 118 36 35 9 45 167 0.896
3 Seasons 46 14 1.81 74 30 7 590.1 377 128 119 29 138 585 0.872
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/20/2010.
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5 Responses to Yankees Rumors: Likely to Get Involed if Yu Darvish is Posted

  1. Mike S. says:

    Darvish as of now is 12-7, 1.83. 209 K in 192 IP. There are reports that he could post for far MORE than Dice-K posted for. Some reports (exaggerated?) have him at $70+ million for posting. A risk. A big one after the failures of Irabu and Igawa. But 24 and definitely a top prospect.

    Actually a few months younger than Hughes. If he can develop, a heck of a 1-2 future punch with Phil.

    From Wikipedia: His 2009 WBC stats was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 13 innings.

    I've been following him off and on for a little while. More from Wiki:

    Darvish is a right-handed pitcher who throws from a three-quarters arm slot in a drop-and-drive motion[36] with a lanky frame, listed at 196 cm (6 ft 5 in) and 90 kg (198 lb). In NPB he throws a four-seam fastball that usually sits around 146 to 151 km/h (91 to 94 mph) and tops out at 156 km/h (97 mph){Only 1 pitch measured 161 km/h (100 mph) in World Baseball Classic final in 2009} as well as a hard slider with a vicious break.[37][38] He complements these two with a wide repertoire of secondary pitches, including a two-seam fastball (sometimes described as a shuuto), a curveball, splitter, cutter and changeup.

    Pursue him but don't go nuts after him. That posting and the fee will be VERY interesting.

    By way of comparison, Matsuzaka just turned 30 and is 46-26, 4.20 in his major league career so far. This being his fourth year.

    Scouting is crucial on Darvish. Hopefully the scouts who scouted Igawa are nowhere near Darvish.

  2. Hopefully the scouts who scouted Igawa were fired.

  3. robert says:

    Hideo Nomo hardly flopped. From 1995-2003, he was 114-90 with a 3.85 ERA, and an ERA+ of 107. That's being an extremely solid MLB starter for almost a decade. His last three seasons, when he was just hanging on, skew his career numbers, but he was a good pitcher for a long time…

  4. Well Nomo was a bit different, mostly because there wasn't an enormous posting fee attached to him. You are glossing over his stats quite a bit though. From 97-01 he was 53-54 with a 4.57 ERA and 95 ERA+. Hardly stellar. I would say he's only had four really good seasons, 95, 96, 02, and 03.