Ken Rosenthal is now reporting that Yu Darvish will likely not be posted until mid-to-late January, if he is posted at all. Darvish seems uncertain about whether or not he wants to make 2012 his MLB debut, and at the same time seems worried that his posting fee will be lower than Daisuke Matsuzaka’s record-setting $51 million. All of this is good news for the New York Yankees.
All of this is good news for the Yankees. Yu Darvish has the potential to be a very good MLB pitcher. We’ve covered that on this blog extensively. We also know that the Yankees have unique financial incentives, made more important by the new CBA, to spend more dollars in posting fees than they would otherwise want to spend in salary. This gives them an asymmetric advantage among the field interested in Darvish.
Now, they have another advantage. If Darvish opts to wait until January to make a decision, the majority of MLB teams will have cemented down their 2012 budgets and will be unable to find the room to bid for him. Teams will likely not pass up the opportunity to spend money on big trade acquisitions and free agents earlier in the off season, since Darvish may or may not be posted. Fewer teams means that the Yankees will both have less competition, and their bid will be subject to less random variance – the chance that some team puts in a surprise high number and blows the Yankees away, like the Red Sox did with Matsuzaka.
The new CBA, the weak free agent class, the Yankee pitching needs, and now Darvish’s late potential posting date are basically the perfect storm for the Yankees in the Yu Darvish market. If I were a little more a conspiracy theorist, I would say that Darvish and his agent engineered the late post in order to raise his chances of ending up on the New York Yankees. It’s that kind of good news.
I think the Yankees should not only bid on Darvish, but seriously considering adding 15% to any number they were thinking of bidding before. With the potential of a $189 million payroll and limited amateur signing spending, the Yankees may see their opportunities to add elite talent via brute fiscal force be fewer and fewer over the years.
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