In a very interesting column on the Yankees’ offseason plans, Joel Sherman shared the following nugget about how the organization views Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish:
“For those on the Matt Cain bandwagon, I heard the Giants have made it so clear they are not trading him that the Yankees have not asked about the righty in “’years.’ The A’s want a No. 1 starter return for Gio Gonzalez, and the Yankees don’t view him as an ace. John Danks took a step back this past year. Many key Yankee voices like Yu Darvish, but the internal sense is Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman are not going to authorize a big outlay after the Kei Igawa disaster and Daisuke Matsuzaka’s plummet for Boston.”
Sherman is an excellent reporter, and if he is reporting that the organization has a low level of interest in Darvish, that is likely what people in the Yankee hierarchy are saying at this point. That said, considering the circumstances of the Darvish situation, it would behoove fans to take everything they hear about a team’s interest in Darvish with an enormous grain of salt.
The process of acquiring players from Japanese baseball includes a blind posting system. Interested teams get to make a single bid for the exclusive rights to negotiate with the player, without knowledge of the bids being made by other clubs. Essentially, clubs need to guess at the market and then make their bid accordingly. This can prove to be extremely difficult, as evidenced by the Red Sox’s $51 million bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka, which reportedly exceeded the next highest bid by at least $15 million.
The guesswork nature of this process lends itself towards misinformation. Teams that are interested in Darvish have an incentive to downplay their level of involvement, which could help suppress the market and lower the range of bids. Conversely, teams that have little interest might feign heavy internal consideration of a large bid, so as to drive up the price for rivals and generally push the market upwards. Taken together, this means that almost all of the information you might hear on Darvish, regarding any team, is likely to be filtered through the lens of self-interest and may be being released to influence the bidding environment. As we saw with the Daisuke situation, until the Nippon Ham Fighters announce the winner, everyone will be in the dark on the posting process.
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