Place Yu Bids
Major League Baseball is a little over a month away from welcoming a brand new star from Japan. The 5 p.m. ET Wednesday deadline for Major League teams to submit their bids for Japanese star pitcher Yu Darvish has come and gone. Now, the waiting game begins to find out where Darvish will suit up in 2012.
Darvish, the 25-year old righty, is currently property of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. Every team interested in an exclusive negotiating window with Yu submitted a silent bid to the Ham Fighters. At the conclusion of what amounts to a four-day silent auction, the team with the highest bid will have 30 days to reach an agreement with Darvish. If a deal is reached, the winning club will pay the posting fee and Darvish will have free reign to play stateside. Should no deal be finalized, Darvish's rights will return to the Fighters.
Despite the overwhelming sentiment that Darvish can pitch at a high level in the big leagues, no favorite has emerged to win the bidding. Here is what is being reported as of late Wednesday night as it pertains to potential bidders:
-According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Yankees posted an offer, and he also tweeted, according to three MLB executives, that the Rangers and Blue Jays are candidates to win the bidding.
-The Angels, Rays and Twins did not submit a bid, according to several reports.
-Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported Friday that the Red Sox did not place a bid.
-According to Comcast SportsNet Chicago, the Cubs put a bid in for Darvish, but the amount and interest was not clear. New Cubs head man Theo Epstein is familiar with this process after winning the bidding and signing Dice-K in November of 2006.
-The Giants did not bid on Darvish, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
-The A's didn't bid on Darvish, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
-The Marlins did not bid on Darvish, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
-The Nippon Ham Fighters were very excited by how large the high bid was according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
-Interestingly enough, no writer has commented on the Phillies interest or lack there of. I would imagine there would zero interest by the team in spending big money on another starting pitcher, but the lack of confirmation does lead to a small bit of intrigue.
We know more about the teams that didn't bid than the teams that have. The Yankees have kept their outward interest lukewarm, but that could be a smokescreen. Many people cite their reluctance to jump back into the Japanese pitching market because of past flops with Kei Igawa and Hideki Irabu, but scouts have Darvish as a much surer thing. Trey Hillman, a former Royal manager and Yankee minor league coach, spent time in Japan and believes Darvish is "one of the five best pitchers on the planet."
A 25-year old -- coming of a season in Japan featuring a 1.44 ERA with 10.7 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 232 innings -- is coming to America. Will he transition to be an ace? A #2 starter? A bust?
It's going to cost upwards of $100 million for us to find out. Stay tuned to 97.3 ESPN for the latest on Yu's future in Major League Baseball.