Yu Darvish, the star Japanese right-hander pitcher, has finally ended years of anticipation on the part of Major League Baseball teams by announcing that he will leave Japan for the big leagues. The New York Yankees are expected to be among the teams bidding for Darvish.
"I have decided to use the posting system," he said. "I wanted to tell my fans directly, so that is why I am posting this on my blog."
This is a move that has been expected for months, and many have looked forward to Darvish's big-league arrival for years. The 25-year-old right-hander went 18-6 with a league-leading 1.44 ERA this season for the Nippon Ham Fighters.
The website Project Prospect recently posted an in-depth scouting report on Darvish, who is considered by many to be a better big-league prospect than Daisuke Matsuzaka waswhen Dice-K posted several years ago.
Project Prospect calls Darvish "one of the handful of greatest pitchers in Japanese history. If he isn't the best of all time at his age (24), he's at least on the Mount Rushmore."
Here is Project Prospect's conclusion:
"I don't see Yu Darvish as an ace. I think the upgrade in competition will knock him off that vaunted perch. That said, I think he's going to be a really good MLB pitcher. I'd peg him as a 4.0 WAR starter for next season, and there's certainly potential for him to exceed those numbers. I see a well-above-average all around starter, a No. 2 guy on a first-division club. I'd be displeased if my favorite club committed nine-figures to procure his services but he has age, production, stuff, command, and poise on his side to score a major deal."
The posting system requires Major League teams to submit sealed bids for the right to negotiate with a player. If the Japanese team a player had played for accepts the highest bid, in this case the Ham Fighters, the team with the winning bid gets 30 days to negotiate a contract with the player.
Matsuzaka, considered the most accomplished pitcher to ever come out of Japan until now, signed a six-year, $52 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in 2006 after the Red Sox had won his negotiating rights with a $51 million posting fee.