Name: Yu Darvish
Position: Right handed pitcher.
Vital Statistics: Age-25; Height-6’5″; Weight-185.
Agents: Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group and Don Nomura.
Chances of coming to North America in 2012: He might want to wait another year so the bigger money clubs like the Red Sox and Mets will definitely be involved. If I had to guess, I’d say he’s coming for 2012.
Teams that could use and pay him: Boston Red Sox; New York Yankees; Toronto Blue Jays; Baltimore Orioles; Detroit Tigers; Minnesota Twins; Kansas City Royals; Texas Rangers; Los Angeles Angels; Seattle Mariners; New York Mets; Washington Nationals; Florida Marlins; Milwaukee Brewers; St. Louis Cardinals; Chicago Cubs; San Francisco Giants; Los Angeles Dodgers.
I went into detail—with pictures, comparisons, video and projections—on Darvish here.
He has a gregarious personality; an interesting heritage and history; and massive talent that will transfer well to the North American market.
His stuff is vicious; he doesn’t appear to have had his arm abused as Daisuke Matsuzaka did as a youth; he’s fearless and unafraid to buzz hitters—this will be imperative in the big leagues.
Darvish has a wide array of pitches including two blazing, moving fastballs, a slider, an Adam Wainwright curve and a forkball.
Japanese imports are always a gamble and teams like the Yankees and Red Sox have been torched by diving too enthusiastically into the market without realizing what they were getting.
The pressure and expectations on Darvish might be muted because of the prior failures of the likes of Hideki Irabu and Matsuzaka, but he’s still going to cost at least $100 million to $120 million in posting fees and for his contract. That’s a lot of money.
Darvish is raw and wild—on and off the field—but that could be seen as both a positive or negative. I take it as a good thing. Within reason.
What he’ll want: The posting fee for Matsuzaka was $51.1 million; it’s a blind bidding process, so the teams will have to calculate how much it’ll cost to sign Darvish.
Contractually he’ll want $75 million in guaranteed money over 5-years and the team that wins the bid will have to sign him.
What he’ll get: The posting will be around $55 million; the contract 5-years, $68 million.
Teams that might give it to him: Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Dodgers, Angels, Mariners, Blue Jays, Cubs, Tigers.
If you think for one second that the Yankees aren’t interested in Darvish and aren’t preparing a massive posting bid for him, you need to stop reading this and go enjoy the work of Joel Sherman.
The Yankees aren’t interested in Darvish…just like they were only moderately interested in Mark Teixeira.
They’re going after Darvish. Hard.
Ichiro Suzuki‘s career is winding down with the Mariners and they’ll want a talented replacement for the Ichiro fanbase. They’re building their club with pitching in mind and Darvish would slide in right behind Felix Hernandez for a devastating and young 1-2 punch.
Theo Epstein was torched by the Matsuzaka signing, but the Cubs have money to spend and he might want to make a big splash upon taking over in Chicago.
Would I spend the posting money and sign Darvish if I were a GM? I’d put my job on the line to get him.
Will it be a “bad” signing for the club that does pay him? No. Darvish is the real deal and is going to be an All Star and Cy Young Award contender. He’s a megastar in waiting.