The deadline for submitting bids in an effort to win the negotiating rights to Yu Darvish, the 25-year-old right-handed pitching phenom, is 5 p.m. ET today (Wednesday). There is a great deal of intrigue surrounding bids for Darvish, including just how seriously the New York Yankees will bid.
That, for us at SB Nation New York, is the primary question. Approaching today's bidding deadline most reports have the Yankees basically feigning interest.
The Yankees have been burned twice when it comes to signing Japanese pitchers. First, it was Hideki Irabu, who went from being 'The Japanese Nolan Ryan' to a 'Fat Toad' in the eyes of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Then it was Kei Igawa, whom the Yankees have spent $46 million on between the $26 million posting fee and the five-year, $20 million contract they signed him to. What they have gotten for their money is a pitcher who has set the Scranton-Wilkes Barre record for career AAA victories, has two big-league wins and has not seen the big leagues since a two-game cameo in 2008.
Reports from Japan say that Darvish is light years better than Igawa, and better than Daisuke Matsuzaka, whom the Red Sox paid a $51 million posting fee to negotiate with in 2006, ultimately signing him to a six-year, $52 million deal.
Will the third time be the charm for the Yankees? How interested are they in finding out? While the Yankees are yawning and downplaying real interest in Darvish, folks around baseball aren't buying what they are selling.
"They need him and when the Yankees need something they make a play for it,’’ one team executive predicted.
The Yankees have CC Sabathia and a slew of question marks in their starting rotation. Ivan Nova surprised everyone by going 16-4. Can he do it again? Freddy Garcia, at 34, had his best season in six years in 2010. What can the Yankees can get from A.J. Burnett or Phil Hughes? Will Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances be ready to contribute in 2012?
So, sure you can easily make the case that it's a no-brainer for the Yankees to be interested. Are they interested enough to fork over a posting fee of $30 million or more, and then sign Darvish to a rich long-term deal? We won't have to wait much longer to find out.