Should the Jays go after Yu Darvish?

Unless you are completely new to the baseball blog community (in which case, welcome!), you have heard about the Blue Jay links to Japanese superstar pitcher Yu Darvish.

Darvish is surrounded by Pearl Harbor sized hype. He’s young (25), talented (1.44 ERA & 10.7 K/9 in ’11) and charismatic. He will also be extremely expensive.

Signing Japanese players is very different than any other types of deals. Darvish is under contract with a professional team, the Hakkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. In order for Darvish to become available to MLB teams, the Fighters need to “post” him, allowing teams to compete in a silent auction for the right to negotiate with the pitcher. If the team with the highest bid fails to sign the player, the posting money is returned.

This is an inherently difficult and dangerous process. You can’t just bid a dollar higher than the next best bid. Its a guessing game that can result in teams dramatically overpaying. In the Daisuke Matsuzaka sweepstakes of ’06, the Red Sox are said to have outbid the next highest offer by $11 million!

Since the posting system was introduced in 1998, only 8 players have signed Major League contracts. Outside of Ichiro, the results- from a value standpoint- have been terrible:

Ichiro Suzuki

Posting fee: $13.125 mil

MLB contract: $14 mil/3 years

Kazuhisa Ishii

Posting fee: $11.26 mil

MLB contract: $12.3 mil/4 years

Akinori Otsuka

Posting fee: $300,000

MLB contract: $1.5 mil/ 2 years

Shinji Mori

Posting Fee: $750,000

MLB contract: $1.4 mil/ 2 years

Daisuke Matsuzaka

Posting Fee: $51.1 mil

MLB contract: $52 mil/ 6 years

Akinori Iwamura

Posting Fee: $4.5 mil

MLB contract: $7.7 mil/3 years

Kei Igawa

Posting Fee: $26 mil

MLB contract: $20 mil/ 5 years

Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Posting fee: 5.329 mil

MLB contract: $9/ 3 years

The posting system makes it very difficult for MLB teams to get decent value because of the silent auction format and the need to compensate both the player and his former team.

Another posting system issue, is the increased difficult in evaluating Japanese talent. Apart from a few games at the World Baseball Classic, Darvish has virtually no experience against professional hitters outside of Japan . Will his stuff be as dominant against MLB calibre hitters? If you look back across the 42 Japanese players who have made the jump across the Pacific, you will notice that the list is full of guys whose skills really didn’t translate.

Darvish’ best comparable is clearly Daisuke Matsuzaka. So it’s a safe bet that it’s going to take 8 figures to acquire his services. This is the ball park according to mlbtraderumors.com. Personally, I believe that kind of coin could be put to better use in traditionally talent pools such as: Latin America, the first-year player draft and free agency.

What do you think?

Should the Jays go after Yu Darvish?

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Tags: Daisuke Matsuzaka Ichiro Suzuki Yu Darvish

  • juanguzman

    YES!!! short and to the point.

  • juanguzman

    YES!!! short and to the point.

  • SD7

    Need a solid #2 ( really another #1 )! Romero is the real deal, we have a stable full of young promising arms that can fill out the bottom of rotation, including Alveraz, who I think will be a beast next year! But Morrow is WAY too inconsistant to be a #2 on a contending team. One night he’s Nolan Ryan, the next he’s BJ Ryan! I think we need Darvish! Rotation prob look like ( unless other deals made ) 1. Romero 2. Darvish 3. Morrow 4. Alveraz 5. Drabek

    A ton of other arms in the wings as well : Hutchinson, Molina, McGuire, etc…

    REAL PROBLEM IS BULLPEN!! Even if we sign Darvish, Fielder, and every other top free agent, we’ll still blow half our games in late innings. Bullpen has to be figured out

  • SD7

    Need a solid #2 ( really another #1 )! Romero is the real deal, we have a stable full of young promising arms that can fill out the bottom of rotation, including Alveraz, who I think will be a beast next year! But Morrow is WAY too inconsistant to be a #2 on a contending team. One night he’s Nolan Ryan, the next he’s BJ Ryan! I think we need Darvish! Rotation prob look like ( unless other deals made ) 1. Romero 2. Darvish 3. Morrow 4. Alveraz 5. Drabek

    A ton of other arms in the wings as well : Hutchinson, Molina, McGuire, etc…

    REAL PROBLEM IS BULLPEN!! Even if we sign Darvish, Fielder, and every other top free agent, we’ll still blow half our games in late innings. Bullpen has to be figured out

  • Mylegacy

    Ever the optimist – I voted YES!

    However will we get him: ain’t gonna happen – no how – no way!

    We could really USE an ACE.

    The Yankees will COLLAPSE without one, Boston’s Lack(ey) another Ace, Theo will want to be celebrated in Cubland with an Ace up his sleeve and the Rangers (new $80 million dollar TV deal in hand) will have cash to spend and a strong hunger for some very expensive Japanese/Iranian take out.

    On the Bullpen, to SD7 I say (in my opinion): As to the bull pen being THE “real” problem…Hos Flickus (Latin for horse feathers). A bull pen selected from: Litsch, Janssen, Villaneuva, Carreno, Perez, Camp, Beck, Mills and Farquhar – when combined with a closer – maybe Nathan will be more than adequate. Add Cecil to that mix if AA gets a starter and the Pen is fine (once the closer is acquired).

    On the starters, to SD7 I say (in my opinion): Romero, Alvarez, Morrow, McGowan and Cecil will start the 2012 season as starters if no new starter is acquired. SD7 is very correct however to point out that Hutchison, Molina and McGuire are breathing down their throats and he could have added that the “etc” he stated is to follow after those three – is a very substantial “etc” indeed!

  • Mylegacy

    Ever the optimist – I voted YES!

    However will we get him: ain’t gonna happen – no how – no way!

    We could really USE an ACE.

    The Yankees will COLLAPSE without one, Boston’s Lack(ey) another Ace, Theo will want to be celebrated in Cubland with an Ace up his sleeve and the Rangers (new $80 million dollar TV deal in hand) will have cash to spend and a strong hunger for some very expensive Japanese/Iranian take out.

    On the Bullpen, to SD7 I say (in my opinion): As to the bull pen being THE “real” problem…Hos Flickus (Latin for horse feathers). A bull pen selected from: Litsch, Janssen, Villaneuva, Carreno, Perez, Camp, Beck, Mills and Farquhar – when combined with a closer – maybe Nathan will be more than adequate. Add Cecil to that mix if AA gets a starter and the Pen is fine (once the closer is acquired).

    On the starters, to SD7 I say (in my opinion): Romero, Alvarez, Morrow, McGowan and Cecil will start the 2012 season as starters if no new starter is acquired. SD7 is very correct however to point out that Hutchison, Molina and McGuire are breathing down their throats and he could have added that the “etc” he stated is to follow after those three – is a very substantial “etc” indeed!

  • juanguzman

    i agree with mylegacy about next years rotation except i believe that the jays will land darvish. i have read that the rangers and the jays are the favorites to sign him. i also think that this would be a statement to other owners, players and the jays fanbase that this team “means business”! as far as the closers role goes, again i agree with mylegacy’s (i guess great minds do think a like) post the other day about francisco having a good 2012. i think it would be wise to retain him , even if it is just for insurance purposes. i still dream that papelbohn will don the jays uni in the 9th inning in 2012! a couple of wildcards for the closers role, in my opinion, are cecil and drabek. cecil did some closing in college and if he can keep his velocity up , he could be a sleeper for this role. drabek has done nothing but disappoint me in his starts over the past 2 seasons. i do not believe he has the mental make up to be successful in the big leagues. that being said, if he can develop that aspect then he may be better off in the late innings facing a handful of batters rather than seeing them 3-4 times a game.

  • juanguzman

    i agree with mylegacy about next years rotation except i believe that the jays will land darvish. i have read that the rangers and the jays are the favorites to sign him. i also think that this would be a statement to other owners, players and the jays fanbase that this team “means business”! as far as the closers role goes, again i agree with mylegacy’s (i guess great minds do think a like) post the other day about francisco having a good 2012. i think it would be wise to retain him , even if it is just for insurance purposes. i still dream that papelbohn will don the jays uni in the 9th inning in 2012! a couple of wildcards for the closers role, in my opinion, are cecil and drabek. cecil did some closing in college and if he can keep his velocity up , he could be a sleeper for this role. drabek has done nothing but disappoint me in his starts over the past 2 seasons. i do not believe he has the mental make up to be successful in the big leagues. that being said, if he can develop that aspect then he may be better off in the late innings facing a handful of batters rather than seeing them 3-4 times a game.

  • SD7

    yeah, forgot about McGowan….just hopin a little bit on Drabek. But I don’t think the pen is a good spot for him either, IMO he’s too weak mentally right now to be able to forget one days failure and come out strong the very next day, as quality relievers have to be. I think cecil is better off in the pen, and I agree on Francisco, if he shows some consistancy, a major asset out of the pen. Nathan would be an interesting pickup as well.

    Does anybody think we have the right pieces to move for A. Chapman?? Thames, Cecil, and C. Perez? Chapman is a potential all-world closer signed cheaply until 2015. Just a thought

  • SD7

    yeah, forgot about McGowan….just hopin a little bit on Drabek. But I don’t think the pen is a good spot for him either, IMO he’s too weak mentally right now to be able to forget one days failure and come out strong the very next day, as quality relievers have to be. I think cecil is better off in the pen, and I agree on Francisco, if he shows some consistancy, a major asset out of the pen. Nathan would be an interesting pickup as well.

    Does anybody think we have the right pieces to move for A. Chapman?? Thames, Cecil, and C. Perez? Chapman is a potential all-world closer signed cheaply until 2015. Just a thought

  • scottbarber

    I still believe the best option for the Jays is an inexpensive high-upside stopgap. As you guys have mentioned, there are a lot of starters in the minors that are getting pretty close.

    Also, I can’t imagine AA signing a big time closer this winter. I think he’ll let Francisco walk (and take the comp pick) and go primarily from within (Janssen, Litsch, Carreno, Perez ect.) He will probably look for a decent lefty though.

    Can’t imagine Chapman could be had for anywhere near that price, SD7.

  • scottbarber

    I still believe the best option for the Jays is an inexpensive high-upside stopgap. As you guys have mentioned, there are a lot of starters in the minors that are getting pretty close.

    Also, I can’t imagine AA signing a big time closer this winter. I think he’ll let Francisco walk (and take the comp pick) and go primarily from within (Janssen, Litsch, Carreno, Perez ect.) He will probably look for a decent lefty though.

    Can’t imagine Chapman could be had for anywhere near that price, SD7.

  • ace frehley

    The Jays are getting close to spending some big money to accelerate their on field success. I don’t think they’ll take a shot at a Japanese player as that big move. It’s just to difficult to project performance and AA is really a conservative shopper. He’ll find another deal, likely moving a bunch of players, or a three-way, that’s just the kind of chess player he is.

  • ace frehley

    The Jays are getting close to spending some big money to accelerate their on field success. I don’t think they’ll take a shot at a Japanese player as that big move. It’s just to difficult to project performance and AA is really a conservative shopper. He’ll find another deal, likely moving a bunch of players, or a three-way, that’s just the kind of chess player he is.