December 14th, 2011
I was cruising the MLB page on ESPN.com today and found an interesting article by senior writer David Schoenfield about the Rangers landing the Yu Darvish – the half Iranian, half Japanese right-hander currently considered the top pitcher in Japan.
The bidding process for Darvish ends tonight at 5:00 ET with teams submitting bids to negotiate with Darvish. The highest bidder then has 30 days to sign him.
According to Schoenfield:
“Those who have seen Darvish say he can be a No. 1 pitcher over here. Mets manager Terry Collins, who managed against Darvish in Japan, raved about him at the winter meetings. Davey Johnson has also managed against him and called him a ‘big, strong hard-thrower. Throws a lot like Americans. … That guy is going to be expensive,’ he said at the winter meetings. “
Schoenfield goes on to write that the signing of Darvish would allow former RoughRider Alexi Ogando to return to the bullpen where could be a dominant setup man for the newly acquired Joe Nathan.
Darvish would no doubt bring even more national media exposure to Arlington and has the potential to be a major asset to the rotation. However, teams need to be ready to pay. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports estimates it will cost anywhere between $30 million – $70 million to just win the rights to talk with the righty.
Many remember the overall failed experiment that was Daisuke Matsuzaka. Following the 2006 season, the Red Sox donated $51.1 million to win the bid to speak with the Japanese pitcher, then signed him to a six-year, $52 million contract.
No matter what the figure turns out to be, time is almost up in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes.