As the Baseball world patiently awaits the announcement on which team won the posting process for exclusive rights to negotiate with Japanese phenom Yu Darvish, the internet community continues to debates how good Yu will really be.In a matter of hours, we will surely know who has the next month to come to terms with Darvish.
Many believe that the Toronto Blue Jays will win the bid, posting somewhere in the range of $50 million. The real question is, what kind of impact will he have?
To start, the Texas Rangers have been speculated to be a major player in this bidding war. Although adding $30 million in contracts this previous year, they are shedding a little over $10 million in salary. This of course, many believe would be a fair asking price per year that Darvish could collect. The problem is, they have many key players entering Arbitration years such as Andrus, Napoli, and Feliz; all who would need to be locked up. If the Rangers did not make a major push at $100 million for Wilson, why would they for Darvish?
MLB.com's Richard Justice posted a story this morning on the risk associated with big money pitchers. Putting aside injuries and the unknown, Darvish would require at least $100 million total by a team to lock up, north of what Boston paid for Dice-K. I believe the Yankees and Red Sox (who according to rumors only) did not post substantial bids because they both saw first hand the potential dangers in signing the unknown to large contracts.
Enter the Toronto Blue Jays, who have lowered payroll over the previous 4 seasons down to around $70 million. As FOX Sports Jon Morosi wrote this morning, the lure of a Japanese market could bring dividends to the Toronto community. With Jose Bautista locked up for the foreseeable future, the Blue Jays would probably be out of the Fielder sweepstakes if Darvish was acquired.
We all know there is a vast difference in the season or quality of players between Japan and America, but how do the statistics carry over? Dice-K for instance went from 17-5 with a 2.13 ERA in 186 IP with 200 Strikeouts in his final season in Japan to 15-12 with a 4.40 ERA in 204 IP with 201 Strikeouts in his rookie season in Boston. Kei Igawa's ERA jumped nearly 4 points from his final season in Japan to his rookie stint with the Yankees.Neither of these pitchers are comparable to Darvish's abilities however.
I am certainly not jumping to conclusions on Yu Darvish by any stretch, but I believe the Blue Jays can spend the money wiser. The Blue Jays could be missing out on the potential to have a potent 3-4 combination of sluggers on both sides of the plate. The Jays certainly have potential in young arms with Romero and Morrow atop their rotation and Kyle Drabek in the hunt. However, Adam Lind as an everyday first baseball hitting .251, certainly would be hauling a much bigger upgrade if the Jays went in a different direction. The Blue Jays could have $50 million or more tied up in one pitcher for the next 3-5 years. Roy Halladay made $15.75 in his final year with the Jays, and we saw how that had its toll on payroll.
So, what type of impact will Yu have on any team?
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