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   1. Darren Posted: October 18, 2011 at 03:06 PM (#3967173)
Oh sure. When good old Darren makes the case for Darvish, nobody cares. But when bigshot SG makes a fancy chart, everyone parks up. Darvish should set the record for posting fees, even if everyone is scared by Dice's struggles.
   2. Mattbert Posted: October 18, 2011 at 03:18 PM (#3967191)
Is there any decent reporting on Darvish's stuff anywhere? The only thing I remember reading was from a couple years ago, and I seem to recall his arsenal being described as not particularly overpowering. That would be a concern for me if accurate because my long-standing impression is that the star pitchers get a whole lot of latitude on the strike zone in NPB.
   3. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 18, 2011 at 03:25 PM (#3967208)
I don't think there is a lot of question about Darvish's ability but I still think he's getting less than Matsuzaka. There is going to be a PR element to this that is going to keep teams from spending $100 million on a Japanese pitcher in the wake of Daisuke.

Regardless of what happens you can expect every article about Yu to include the names Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Irabu and not in a positive way. Maybe I'm wrong but I still think the posting fee is going to be $35-40 million with the contract being roughly 1:1 bringing the total value to $70-80 million.

Plus, any time we can ignore Darren, that's just fun for all of us!
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 18, 2011 at 03:33 PM (#3967221)
The best scouting report I found on Darvish is an old one - a a 2008 Ask BA piece with Jim Callis:
A 6-foot-5, 190-pound righthander, Darvish is just 21 years old. Two international scouts described him as having a variety of above-average pitches. He works in the low 90s with his fastball and can reach back for 95-96 mph on occasion. He can cut his fastball, and he also throws a slider, curveball, splitter and a changeup. His ability to locate his pitches makes them play up, and he could be a frontline starter in the big leagues.

"He has plus stuff, and plus command and control to go with plus makeup," one scout said. "If I had a big game, I would be comfortable with him on the mound. He's a No. 1 starter for me. Absolutely filthy last year, and he played most of the year at 20. We'll see what happens as the innings pile on his arm, but he would be 1-1 in the draft . . .

"We're not talking a 'blow them away with a fastball and knee-wobbling stuff' kind of guy. We're talking a kid with a projectable body who knows how to pitch and is still developing physically—and is really good right now. He still might end up with jaw-dropping stuff. He's still very young."
Sounds a lot like Dice-K, with a more traditional pitcher's body and much better results.

Here's a youtube video of Darvish's mechanics, which look off to me for reasons I can't pinpoint. He starts slow, with weird glove position, but he gets moving after that and does the little "step over" thing that CBW liked.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 18, 2011 at 03:37 PM (#3967227)
I don't think there is a lot of question about Darvish's ability but I still think he's getting less than Matsuzaka. There is going to be a PR element to this that is going to keep teams from spending $100 million on a Japanese pitcher in the wake of Daisuke.

Regardless of what happens you can expect every article about Yu to include the names Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Irabu and not in a positive way. Maybe I'm wrong but I still think the posting fee is going to be $35-40 million with the contract being roughly 1:1 bringing the total value to $70-80 million.
If that's the case, it sure sounds like a "market inefficiency" to me. I realized as I was arguing that Darvish would get a low posting fee that I was basically arguing for the existence of a not-insignificant market inefficiency. If Darvish's ability - which you say is not in question - matches to his numbers, he deserves something more like 6/150, not 6/80. That's just a crazy differential.

The thing I learned, googling Darvish, is that a number of high-payroll clubs without quite the clout of the Sox or Yankees have been linked to Darvish - in particular the Rangers, Blue Jays, and Nationals. None of those clubs relish getting into it with the Yankees in a traditional bidding war for Sabathia or Wilson, and with one big move they could cut the Yankees out of the Darvish stakes. (Just like the Red Sox and Mets did with Matsuzaka.) I would not be at all surprised to see one of them drop $50M or more on the posting fee.
   6. Mattbert Posted: October 18, 2011 at 03:52 PM (#3967243)
Here's a youtube video of Darvish's mechanics, which look off to me for reasons I can't pinpoint.

His hand position (hooking) isn't great after he breaks from the glove. He brings the ball almost straight up during his scap load, too - doesn't really "reach back" like you see most pitchers do. That's not necessarily a red flag in and of itself, but combined with the hooking action it does make things look a little awkward. I'd want to watch more, but the first thing I'd worry about is elbow issues there.

Other than that, I like his arm action at release. Good extension and good follow-through.
   7. Lassus Posted: October 18, 2011 at 04:01 PM (#3967256)
Has there been anything new on the "Not playing in the USA ever" stance he seemed to have for quite awhile?
   8. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 18, 2011 at 04:10 PM (#3967271)
You can track the reports on MLBTR's Darvish page. Apparently Darvish announced a year ago that he planned to play in MLB in 2012.

The most recent reports suggest he's still planning on asking to be posted, thought it may not be a done deal.
9/1: One MLB official told Olney that Yu Darvish will sign with an MLB team this winter. Earlier this morning, I listed the teams that have been publicly linked to the Japanese right-hander.
9/15: Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker hears that Yu Darvish is undecided on whether it's the right time for him to join an MLB team. The Japanese right-hander could be available via the posting system this offseason.
10/16, from Davidoff in Newsday: Baseball officials are increasingly convinced that righthander Yu Darvish will be posted to the major leagues, and industry folks wonder how much will teams pay. The Red Sox paid more than $51MM five years ago to talk with Daisuke Matsuzaka, and that hasn't panned out for them. The expectation is that in light of Boston's disappointment with Matsuzaka, teams won't bid as much for Darvish.
   9. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 18, 2011 at 04:28 PM (#3967295)
I'm not a mechanics expert but he seems to show a lot of the ball to the hitter. The video comp isn't perfect but look at Bard in this video, his hands are fairly close to his body. In Darvish's case they seem to be away from the body which may make him easier to pick up. In the slow mo he really seems to hide the ball behind his knee pretty well though.

If that's the case, it sure sounds like a "market inefficiency" to me. I realized as I was arguing that Darvish would get a low posting fee that I was basically arguing for the existence of a not-insignificant market inefficiency. If Darvish's ability - which you say is not in question - matches to his numbers, he deserves something more like 6/150, not 6/80. That's just a crazy differential.


I don't disagree with that, but I think it is going to be the reality. I just think given the Matsuzaka hype teams are going to tread cautiously, perhaps to their detriment.

To your point though, it just takes one and I think given the circumstances being similar to 2006 (missed the playoffs, dire need of pitching) the Red Sox could well be the one again.
   10. Darren Posted: October 19, 2011 at 12:02 AM (#3967702)
I read somewhere that Darvish originally threw a screwball but replaced it with a splitter around the time he started putting up sub-2.00 ERAs. With his arsenal, I'd say Dice and Irabu are probably the best translation comps, possibly Nomo as well though.
   11. Darren Posted: October 19, 2011 at 01:28 AM (#3967752)
I just can't believe that they're going to go through this again without fixing the posting system. As it is, team know they can bid a ton and then just pay the player less without fear of reprisal. There has got to be a better way.
   12. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 19, 2011 at 02:01 AM (#3967773)
I've always thought Darvish's workload was a bigger red flag than any of his fellow countrymen who disappointed in MLB, but that angle seems to get little attention. Asking a guy with Darvish's build and prior workload to come to MLB and make more starts on less rest (and with a different ball) seems like risky business, at least when numbers like 6/$100M and 6/$150M are being tossed around.
   13. Darren Posted: October 19, 2011 at 02:31 AM (#3967779)
I think 6/150 is high. That's Lee or CC money. Those guys are way more predictably great.
   14. Swedish Chef Posted: October 19, 2011 at 02:50 AM (#3967786)
Has there been anything new on the "Not playing in the USA ever" stance he seemed to have for quite awhile?

Well, one data point is that he has hired an American agent (Arn Tellem).
   15. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 19, 2011 at 03:17 AM (#3967801)
Regardless of what happens you can expect every article about Yu to include the names Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Irabu and not in a positive way.
So there's a 100% chance he's a bust, and a 50% chance he kills himself? Those are tough odds.
   16. Jim Furtado Posted: October 19, 2011 at 12:25 PM (#3967937)
I agree with Joe. In this case the Sox should let someone else take the risk. This is especially true when you consider the current climate of Red Sox Nation and the scrutiny Darvish will endure through a Matsusaka-colored lens.
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 19, 2011 at 12:33 PM (#3967938)
Asking a guy with Darvish's build and prior workload to come to MLB and make more starts on less rest (and with a different ball) seems like risky business, at least when numbers like 6/$100M and 6/$150M are being tossed around.
Darvish has a pretty traditional pitcher's build - he's filled out since 2008.

The issues about workload are obviously the most troubling. Given the way kids get worked in NPB, is it ever worth it to commit six years to a young NPB pitcher? As I said in the initial post, if Darvish had translated exactly as Matsuzaka did, he'd have produced a little under 20 WAR for the Red Sox, which at a cost of $100M is not a terribly good deal. It's fine, and no one would really complain, but that's with Darvish putting up very good numbers early in the contract. An injury in the first couple years of a contract kills its value, even if the pitcher is quite good. Darvish has to be reasonably durable to be a good buy.
So there's a 100% chance he's a bust, and a 50% chance he kills himself? Those are tough odds.
I do want to emphasize, though, that the actual pitching performances of Irabu and Matsuzaka are positive indicators for Darvish. If his numbers translate in a way similar to the way that Irabu's and Matsuzaka's numbers translated, he'll be an ace. He was just that much better than any of these guys.
   18. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 19, 2011 at 12:39 PM (#3967940)
when you consider the current climate of Red Sox Nation and the scrutiny Darvish will endure through a Matsusaka-colored lens.


The Sox cannot cannot cannot make decisions like that right now (ever really). If they think Yu is going to be a star and can handle the scrutiny they should pursue him vigorously. If he pitches well the fans will be fine with him. The only thing the Sox should be asking is if he has the ability to pitch at a high level in the Major Leagues. The single best thing this team can do from a PR standpoint is win 95 games in 2012. If they do that with a Japanese pitcher, Bucky Dent's nephew and Harry Frazee's granddaughter no one is going to care. If they go 82-80 there is no amount of good cheer they will be able to produce.
   19. OCD SS Posted: October 19, 2011 at 12:39 PM (#3967942)
I agree with Joe. In this case the Sox should let someone else take the risk. This is especially true when you consider the current climate of Red Sox Nation and the scrutiny Darvish will endure through a Matsusaka-colored lens.


Except that the Sox look like they really need to add a pitcher. The current climate of "Red Sox Nation" and attendant scrutiny are going to apply to anyone they bring in. The FA market for pitching is pretty thin (C.C. isn't leaving the Yankees even if he opts out, and Wilson could easily cost twice the total commitment to Darvish, with many suitors) and the risk is going to be there anyway. At least the Sox have the experience in transitioning a similar player.
   20. OCD SS Posted: October 19, 2011 at 12:41 PM (#3967945)
I just can't believe that they're going to go through this again without fixing the posting system. As it is, team know they can bid a ton and then just pay the player less without fear of reprisal. There has got to be a better way.


You mean where he doesn't leave NPB and wait until he reaches free agency to transition to MLB?
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 19, 2011 at 12:42 PM (#3967946)
I agree with Jose. I mean, if Darvish seems like the sort of guy who will respond badly to the pressure of Boston, then I wouldn't want him. But otherwise, the prior experience of Matsuzaka, and the fans' possible reactions, really shouldn't be an issue.

You have to translate his numbers, scout his stuff and command, and figure out his injury risk. Those are the jobs for Sox, and for any other team that might bid on Darvish.
   22. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 20, 2011 at 04:32 AM (#3969065)
The statistical translations leading off this thread are interesting. As someone who follows NPB only casually—i.e., I'm familiar with some of the players from international play and I follow the players who are expected to come over to MLB—I'm curious to what extent, if any, the translations reflect any changes in NPB over the past decade.

Specifically, I'm not sure if it's true or not statistically, but I've heard some talk about there being a decline in offense in NPB that's been equal to or greater than the decline in MLB. Is this true? If so, could that be skewing the numbers in Darvish's favor relative to the stats posted by pitchers like, e.g., Irabu and Matsuzaka five or 10 years ago, or do the translations already reflect any such changes?

Also, I've heard the official NPB ball, which reportedly is smaller than the one used in MLB, has changed a time or two in recent years. If true, have the offensive numbers tracked up or down with the change in the ball (as happened in Cuba), or has any offensive decline (or spike) seemingly been unrelated?
   23. Something Other Posted: October 20, 2011 at 07:18 AM (#3969092)
Except that the Sox look like they really need to add a pitcher. The current climate of "Red Sox Nation" and attendant scrutiny are going to apply to anyone they bring in. The FA market for pitching is pretty thin (C.C. isn't leaving the Yankees even if he opts out, and Wilson could easily cost twice the total commitment to Darvish, with many suitors) and the risk is going to be there anyway. At least the Sox have the experience in transitioning a similar player.
"Easily"? If the least that a Darvish deal including posting is going to cost a team is $80m, it seems fantastic that Wilson will better the deal Cliff Lee got this past offseason.

People have been grossly overestimating what Wilson will get.
   24. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 20, 2011 at 09:57 AM (#3969105)
on will better the deal Cliff Lee got this past offseason.

People have been grossly overestimating what Wilson will get.


I don't know about that. I put him at around 100-120m, and I had to convince people here a few weeks ago that he'd get more than Lackey/Burnett. But yeah, Darvish is getting more than half of that (including posting).
   25. Jim Furtado Posted: October 20, 2011 at 12:00 PM (#3969132)
Joe, makes some interesting points. I also wonder how the migration of some of the top players impacts the numbers.
   26. OCD SS Posted: October 20, 2011 at 01:00 PM (#3969161)
"Easily"? If the least that a Darvish deal including posting is going to cost a team is $80m, it seems fantastic that Wilson will better the deal Cliff Lee got this past offseason.

People have been grossly overestimating what Wilson will get.


No, I just wasn't really paying attention and thought I had made a revision I hadn't when I posted (not that that doesn't mean people aren't over or underestimating what people will get).

I'd actually guess that Darvish will wind up with something comprable to DiceK's deal, with a bit on the top for inflation (say $110M). But I think Wilson is easily looking at $20M yr/ 6 yrs. I can see the Yankees offering $18m for 5-6 and Texas going over that to keep their ace.

For Boston the concern is his salary, IMO. The FO seems concerned with keeping under the CBT threshold, which the posting fee doesn't count towards. But someone made a point in the other thread that a smaller market team could go all in on Darvish since they won't be able to land a top FA pitcher, and then negotiate exclusively. The Nats seem like a good candidate for this maneuver.
   27. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 20, 2011 at 01:00 PM (#3969163)
People have been grossly overestimating what Wilson will get.


Wilson has the advantage of being a known quantity both in terms of temperament and ability. Yu is going to suffer from Matsuzaka fatigue I think. If Wilson doesn't get 5 years I'll be shocked.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 20, 2011 at 01:11 PM (#3969173)
"Easily"? If the least that a Darvish deal including posting is going to cost a team is $80m, it seems fantastic that Wilson will better the deal Cliff Lee got this past offseason.
Major SP contracts in the last five years or so:

7/161 - CC Sabathia
6/138 - Johan Santana
5/120 - Cliff Lee
7/116 - Barry Zito
6/91 - Carlos Zambrano
5/85 - Jered Weaver
5/82 - AJ Burnett
5/82 - John Lackey

Somewhere in between Lee and Lackey seems like a reasonable guess for Wilson. I agree that Wilson will certainly not cost double Darvish, but I think guessing $20M per is pretty reasonable.

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