The bidding for highly-coveted Japanese starting pitcher Yu Darvish ended two nights ago, and we are finally hearing rumors that name a team who’s won the Darvish sweepstakes. While several teams including the Rangers and Blue Jays have been heavily linked to Darvish over the past few days, sources are saying one club has now “won the bidding”. Let’s take a look at all of the latest Yu Darvish rumors.
George A. King III of the New York Post reports the Blue Jays are the favorites to win the rights to negotiate a contract with Darvish.
Jim Bowden of MLB Network takes it a step farther, claiming that he’s hearing Toronto has in fact “won the bidding” for Darvish.
We learned yesterday that the Blue Jays made a “whopper” of a bid for Darvish, with some speculating Toronto’s offer reached north of $50 million. The Rangers are the other club that was seen as a favorite to win the Darvish sweepstakes, and their offer is reportedly in the $40-49 million range.
Along with the Blue Jays and Rangers, the Cubs and Yankees are believed to have placed bids on Darvish. No figures have been attached to either club’s offer, but it was reported that New York’s bid was only “modest”.
If reports are correct and the Blue Jays have really offered $50 million up front just to negotiate with Darvish, it could ultimately end up costing Toronto $125 million or more to sign the 25-year-old. On top of the sizeable posting fee, Darvish is said to be seeking a five-year, $75 million contract.
Of course, according to some talent evaluators, this hefty price tag would be worth it to bring in a pitcher like Darvish.
King spoke with several people who’ve scouted Darvish. One talent evaluator said Darvish has better stuff than either Hideki Irabu or Daisuke Matsuzaka. Another confirmed that a $75 million contract sounds “about right” for Darvish.
Still, some don’t think that a club should be willing to offer that much money and that long of a deal to Darvish before he proves himself. One scout said that Darvish isn’t worth $20 million, at least not yet, and says that a team should look to offer “three years to see how he does” before extending their investment.
There have been questions surrounding Darvish’s makeup and how he will handle the transition, not just to another league but to another country. While one scout says the “ability is there”, he cautions everyone to give Darvish some time “to get his feet on the ground”.
Darvish’s current team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, have until Tuesday night to announce if they are accepting the winning bid.
Whoever ends up winning the Darvish bidding will then have 30 days to reach an agreement with Yu. If talks fall through and no contract is signed, Darvish will return to Japan for 2012 and the winning team will have their posting fee returned. Darvish would then be eligible to hit the market as an unrestricted international free agent next offseason.
It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Nippon will accept whatever bid they receive. In that case, it’s up to the winning team, which currently looks to be the Blue Jays, to bring Darvish to Major League Baseball.
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