Thursday, November 3, 2011

Yu Want the Blue Jays to Sign Darvish?

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Call me completely oblivious but I had no idea who Yu Darvish was until this year. He may very well be one of the best pitchers available this offseason, and yet the name Yu Darvish never really struck a chord with me.

That was until recently. With the offseason officially here and the fires of the hotstove starting to get stoked, Darvish is the one name out of all the free agents that could very well be the most intriguing case.

The guys at Mop Up Duty and Jays Journal have a great handle on all the Darvish happenings, but now the possibility of him coming to Toronto really starting to come to the forefront.

MLB Trade Rumours went through their Top 50 Free Agents post, as well as their predictions for where they think those free agents will sign. Not surprisingly, MLBTR has the Blue Jays as the frontrunners to get Darvish.

Despite Alex Anthopoulos' tendency to be tight-lipped on possible signings, we know for a fact that he scouted Yu Darvish in Japan at the end of August. For those debating that may have just been a move to drive up the price of Darvish, you don't travel half way across the world on an 18-hour flight unless you're serious about signing somebody.

Surely when asked about the situation, I'm sure Alex would respond with a typical Anthopoulosism: "I'm just doing my due diligence". There's a big difference though between due diligence and flat out gunning for a player. I think the Blue Jays are doing the latter.

It's unfortunate the Blue Jays still don't have Rob Ducey as their Pacific Rim/Asian scout, because this is where that personnel would really come in handy. One of AA's first duties as the Blue Jays GM was actually letting Ducey go, a move I'm sure he might slightly regret now with the prominence of Yu Darvish over in Japan.

Nevertheless, I'm certain the Blue Jays are being extremely thorough in scouting and researching Yu Darvish. I trust the front office will leave no stone left unturned, and if it gets to the point where Toronto puts in an offer, then it will be a very well thought out offer.

There's no questioning that Yu Darvish would be a high risk/high reward signing for the Blue Jays. Simply due to the dollar figure attached, anything less than a stellar stay in Toronto might be viewed as a disappointment.

However, if Darvish carves up the AL East competition as he did the Pacific League in Nippon Professional Baseball, a $100 million dollar contract might begin to start looking like a bargain.

But do the Blue Jays really need to spend close to $100 million or more for another Brandon Morrow? If Toronto really needed another mid to back-end starter, they could just as easily move Jesse Litsch back into the starting rotation.

Litsch might not light up the competition as Darvish would, but at least Jesse would be dependable starter they could rely on to hopefully rack up 125 innings or so as a mid-rotation guy. And he would do so at a fraction of the price.

When folks say they're wary of the Blue Jays signing Yu Darvish, I can completely understand why they're hesitant. Handing over $100 million dollars to somebody who doesn't have a lick of Major League experience is a risky move. But so is signing Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder to a $200 million dollar contract.

One could argue that signing Yu Darvish would actually be less risky than going after one of the top free agents like Pujols or Fielder because Darvish would command far less money, on a much shorter term.

As with any deal, there is a possibility it could end up being a complete bust. However, we've learned first hand from the Vernon Wells trade that there is no such thing as an immovable contract. Anyone can be made available for the right price.

Nearly every team is looking to upgrade starting pitching. If Darvish falters, the Blue Jays could certainly find a way to parlay Yu Darvish into at least something.

It might be the lack of baseball to the brain, but as the offseason continues, I'm falling more and more in favour of the Blue Jays going after Yu Darvish rather than Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, or even C.J. Wilson.

With a very promising young pitching staff coming to fruition, the Blue Jays don't necessarily need to sign Yu Darvish to complete the puzzle. But in the American League East, it's not enough to have everything fall into place ... you need to be the first one to complete that puzzle.

The parts are all there for the Blue Jays to build a contender, it's just a matter of assembling it. And Yu Darvish may be that one piece that helps Toronto get there just a little bit faster.

14 comments:

  1. Great post Ian,

    I hate to compare apples to oranges, but I am going to. Daisuke would scare me out of forking over any money to a Japanese league pitcher, no matter how well he carves up hitters over there. Remember Matsuzaka was also a World Baseball Classic MVP. I have respect for the Blue Jays scouting department, and if they believe Darvish has good enough stuff to compete here, and do sign him, then I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I just personally would prefer that if they are going to invest big dollars in a free agent pitcher, that it be Mark Buehrle. If he's anything at all, it's consistent. He eats a tonne of innings, he starts 32 to 34 games a year, and he has a career ERA of 3.83 with a 1.28 Whip. Not to mention he's only allowed 49 stolen bases in his career. I realize it would be a tough sale to get him here, and he's not likely to come to Toronto. But it would very likely take less cash to get him here than you'd have to put up for Darvish.

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  2. I'm for it. By any measure he's better than Dice-K ever was, not nearly as abused (did you know Matsuzaka once pitched an extra inning complete game in which he threw over 200 pitches? In high school?!!?)

    He's "another Morrow" at a minimum, but Morrow hasn't produced the results which match his component stats or his stuff. He's still got, IMO, some Cy caliber seasons in him.

    To be sure, I have no interest in, say, CJ Wilson. I love our rising pitching, But Darvish is a special case. Not just an excellent talent on the field, but a high class personality who handles pressure well and has "star quality" to boot. It would be the biggest move in Toronto since the signed Clemens

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  3. Ball Fan, unfortunately the closest situation we can compare the Darvish posting to is Dice-K. But I think Darvish has much more to offer than Daisuke did - luckily Darvish wasn't nearly as overworked as Daisuke was.

    I'm not opposed to going after Mark Buehrle - he would definitely eat up innings, however he seems like a band-aid solution that would only work long-term. If the Blue Jays sign Darvish, at least he's around for the next 5 years or so and is only 30 by the time that contract expires.

    Tammy, 200 pitches in a single game? Yikes ... and the Red Sox wonder why he's been injury-riddled these past few years. If I had to compare Darvish to any pitcher on the Jays staff, it would be Morrow. He strikes lots of guys out, so the potential for a 1A or 1B pitcher is definitely there.

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  4. I'm in the boat for signing Darvish. He sits at 94 mph with a 6 foot 5' 190 pounds. Do you know how many guys pitched at 94 last year in MLB? 5 including Verlander, holland, & Ogando. If you have a chance to sign a guy like that and he isn't injured, I think you go after him.
    And to the people who are worried about the cost. If the puts us over the top, Rogers gets more money in ticket, commercial revenue and uniform sales.
    They will make money.

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  5. Mark Buehrle?! Holy crap, please no. The last thing the Jays need is a tired old guy on the decline. I'd take a 25-year old on the rise over him any day.

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  6. Anon, that's some pretty impressive company. And Darvish's stature lends to being able to keep up that velocity in the long term hopefully.

    BlueJaynator, Buehrle would only really be a stop-gap short term solution anyway. Litsch could easily fit that bill, and at a much lower price tag.

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  7. Sorry Guys looks like the Yanks are Targeting The Big Japan Prospect, but he would have been a very nice fit with the Brett Lawrie, Deck Mcguire, Anthony gose and Montaous Walton in the jays system! hope YU Lands with a pretty good Team tho

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  8. Anon, no matter where Yu Darvish ends up, one thing is for sure - he is going to be paid handsomely. It's a high risk/high reward signing, so it will be interesting to see who's willing to risk that kind of cash.

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  9. yes I definitely agree with you i am exciting to see where he ends up? also ian have you ever heard of any of the other prospects i just named?

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  10. Anon, yes I'm familiar with Lawrie/McGuire/Gose, but not very familiar with Walton, and I can't seem to dig up any info about him. Not even a Baseball Reference or Baseball Cube page!

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  11. i did my reserch on him and he just signed on with them as a highly touted free agent here is a link I found on him here it is

    http://www.prlog.org/11678886-blue-jays-prospect-signs-with-agent.html

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  12. Ian,
    Don't believe this. He is a whacked out kid that just likes to see his nam on message boards. Since 2007 he has supposedly played with Eastern Michigan U, Wisconsin Whitewater, two summer academies I have never heard of, and signed with the Twins and Blue Jays as undrafted FA! You will have better luck finding reliable information and sources on the location of Jimmy Hoffa than you do anyhting useful about Walton!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the heads up. I thought it was a little fishy when we didn't hear a peep at all from anybody about this.

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