The winning posting bid for the right to negotiate with star Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish is expected to be announced Monday night, according to published reports. That winner is not expected to be the New York Yankees.
A variety of reports have indicated that both the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers have outbid the Yankees by a substantial margin, possibly posting bids in excess of the $51.1 million posting fee Daisuke Matsuzaka garnered. Toronto is considered the likely winner.
This would have to considered a huge risk for the Blue Jays, especially considering they will have to dole out a rich long-term contract on top of the posting in order to sign the 25-year-old Darvish.
What of the Yankees, though? Why weren’t they more aggressive here? They are obviously reluctant to trade top prospects for pitching which they have said they need.
Can this be considered an indication that the free-spending, win-at-all-costs days of the Yankees are gone? Are they now a business first and the Evil Empire second? With Hal Steinbrenner in charge after the passing of his father are the Yankees now more concerned about their bottom line? Are profits now more important than chasing championships?
I don’t know any of that for a fact. You do, however, have to wonder.
So, what do the Yankees do if Darvish is going elsewhere? GM Brian Cashman has said throughout the offseason that upgrading the team's starting pitching was his focus, but he has been unable to do that. The Yankees re-signed veteran Freddy Garcia, but have not added to the unsatisfying group they had last season. And if Darvish is off the table their options appear to be dwindling.
The Oakland Athletics have been soliciting offers for left-handed Gio Gonzalez, but I haven't found any reports that the Yankees have made any sort of serious offer for the talented young pitcher. The Chicago White Sox are dangling lefty John Danks, but various reports have indicated that Chicago wants catcher/designated hitter prospect Jesus Montero and one of the Yankees top young pitching prospects as well.
The Yu Darvish bidding sweepstakes has come to a close. The deadline to enter a bid for the Japanese pitching phenom was 5 p.m. EST today.
At least one bid was placed today (via ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth). However, MLB will not disclose the identity of the major league team that entered the bid. After MLB notifies Darvish's team, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, of the amount of the highest bid (but not the team which entered it), the Japanese Commissioner's Office will then have until 5 p.m. EST on Dec. 20 to tell MLB if the bid has been accepted or rejected.
If the Japanese team accepts the bid, MLB will unveil the identity of the team that then has 30 days to negotiate with Darvish about a contract. If no agreement is reached, the posting fee will be returned to the MLB club.
We don't want to read too much into the fact that ESPN Dallas/Forth Worth ran a story and ESPN New York did not. The Rangers were an interested party and the Yankees were downplaying their interest in Darvish, after all. The waiting game continues.
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.
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.