Ken Rosenthal checked in with some very interesting news yesterday, stating that a source told him that Japanese sensation Yu Darvish is likely to be posted this offseason by the Nippon Ham Fighters. Darvish is just 24 years old, is considered a better prospect than Dice-K was, and reportedly can hit 96 on his fastball to go along with plus secondary stuff (h/t RAB for the scouting report). The question is, will the Yankees be interested in Darvish and how much will he cost?
In regard to the Yankees, I can only see them having interest if Andy Pettitte retires or they whiff on Cliff Lee. If they are able to sign Lee and Pettitte returns, there will be no rotation slot for Darvish at the major league level. I highly doubt the Yankees would make the financial outlay required to sign Darvish and then stash him at AAA for a season or stick him in the bullpen. If Pettitte retires, or if the Yankees are nervous about giving an older player like Lee a large deal and get outbid by another club for his services, I would expect them to be one of the frontrunners to acquire Darvish. While some might say that the Yankees should stay away due to the inconsistencies exhibited by other Japanese pitchers, I think that is silly. Scouts find Darvish to be the best prospect Japan has ever had, and it would be a bad idea to ignore him due to his nationality. If the Yankees believe in him as a pitcher, the failures of Kei Igawa should not alter that judgment.
As for the price, I think that it will be lower than many expect. I have heard numbers like 140 million, with 70 being for the posting fee and the remainder to sign Yu. However, I think the limited success of Dice-K, the last great Japanese import to the States, will make people wary about spending a ton of money on a guy who has yet to succeed against MLB competition. Additionally, it is important to remember that the Red Sox outbid everyone by 20 million for Dice-K. Unless there is a team that is desperate for Darvish, it is possible that most clubs use a lower number than the 51 million it took to “win” Dice-K as their baseline. Either way, this should be a fascinating story to keep an eye on as the offseason progresses.
Do you want the Yankees to pursue Darvish?
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