Yoenis Cespedes might not be the only international free agent the Chicago Cubs consider this Winter.

According to a Cubs’ source, the front office is interested in Japanese ace, Yu Darvish, who could be posted (made available to MLB teams) later this Winter. The level of interest is, of course, dependent on the cost to acquire Darvish. Landing the 25-year-old righty will take, first, a posting fee (which could range anywhere from $25 to $50 million), and second, a multi-year contract for as much as $10 to $15 million per year.

Making that kind of investment means the Cubs will have to be certain that they’re getting a solid pitcher, who will transition well to MLB and life in the States. To that end, another source recently told the Sun-Times that “the Cubs have been doing background work” on Darvish. The team isn’t going to go into the bidding process on Darvish blind.

If that bidding process happens, that is. As each week passes and Darvish is not posted, the fear that he will not be posted grows. Even if he is posted, the process takes time, and a team committed to bidding on Darvish may have to forego other free agent or trade options while they wait out the Darvish resolution.

But, all scouts who’ve discussed Darvish agree: he’s better than Daisuke Matsuzaka was when Daisuke made the leap, and he has true ace potential. I more extensively laid out my thoughts on Darvish back in August, when it started to become realistic that he would be posted this Winter. From that post:

Why wouldn’t you want to take a chance on a lottery ticket like Darvish? Expecting him to duplicate his Japanese results in MLB would be a mistake, but there’s no reason to be certain he couldn’t be a good Major League starter. In case this year didn’t shock your system to the truth: those guys can be pretty hard to find.

I say I would agree in a vacuum, because the money’s the thing. It always is.

I doubt a team is going to do the $50+ million posting thing again (and then another $50 million for the contract), but would $25 million be excessive? That would buy your team the exclusive right to make a deal with Darvish for six years. If he gets the $50ish million that Matsuzaka got on a contract, that’s a $75 million investment for six (prime) years of control. Would you sign Darvish, today, to a six-year, $75 million contract? I’m not sure what I would do, but it’s certainly an interesting discussion.

For now, we’ll have to wait and see if he’s posted this Winter, and, if he is, whether the Cubs will sniff around at the bidding. It seems likely that they would, not only because of their need for pitching, but because true Japanese superstars like Darvish can offer teams in a large market additional revenue streams. For what it’s worth, MLBTR recently confirmed that Darvish does have American representation on the agent side. It would seem silly to have such an arrangement if it was out of the realm of possibility that you’d be coming over to the States in the near term.

That still sounds about right to me – and if it was six years for a total $75 million commitment, I’d do it. I suspect, however, that the number will be closer to $100 million when all is said and done.

There’s a bit more on Darvish in that post, including more detail on his track record in Japan (which is impressive).

  • Stinky Pete

    Wow.  She’s pretty.

    • TWC

      Larf.  I like how she checks her manicure while pitching.

    • Fishin Phil

      I must admit to the same thoughts.

      • jfish1219

        That was my thought when I saw the pic, I was like dam dude looks like a chick

        • BetterNews

          I think it is a chick! Theo can’t really be considering a transvestite, can he?(Yikes!)

          • BetterNews

            Well I take that back. He probably is. Only makes sense. That gives Zambrano something to hit on besides the Gatorade cooler!(LOL)

    • BetterNews

      This has to be a cruel joke, right? Tell me I’m seeing things!

    • Siquo

      Did really all of you guys just make lame gender/racial jokes? Jesus…

      • BetterNews

        Not a joke at all. Racial? We knew that was coming , unfounded! Gender, we knew that was coming because most people agree he looks like a girl.

        Everybody has an opinion and you are saying it is only guys, and that just subtracts from the arguement you were trying to make.

        • BetterNews

          Also, didn’t your mom teach you not to use the word “Jesus” in vain?

  • Roland Perrelli

    A little flat chested for me.

  • BD

    I’m not sure how high the ceiling should be for this guy’s value. However, I am excited that the Cubs are not shying away from potentially big investments on guys they would deem to be the “right fit.” None of these players can make the team a winner by themselves, but could be an important building block going forward.

  • Katie

    She uses the same shade of hair dye as me, Autumn Sunrise. That bitch!

    • BetterNews

      Now you are talking!

  • Dumpman

    You’d have to imagine a scenario where the posting would be somewhere in the 40mil range. Then you’d have to guess something like 3/30 with 2 team options at 15 a piece. So I’m going to assume it will cost 100m to get it done. I’m not much worried about it though. The revenue it would create would easily pay for itself.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t have a great grasp on the revenue side of things, so I haven’t discussed it much. Aside from winning (which is theoretical), what do you think the streams will be? Merchandise? TV rights in Japan? But, since the Cubs’ TV rights are all currently under contract, would they even have access to the funds generated by a further spin-off of those rights to other countries? I genuinely don’t know, but, if the Cubs start pursuing Darvish more aggressively, I intend to find out.

      • Kyle

        You could sell a lot more racist t-shirts.

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        The Cubs probably have a good idea how much revenue they could generate as a result of Darvish by looking at the numbers produced by Fukudome in his first year. If they made a mint on jersey sales and Japanese TV rights (or anything else for that matter), then it isn’t illogical to suggest they’d make a similar mint on Darvish.

        But I don’t recall the Cubs ever talking about how much money Fukudome made them.

        Still, I’d be willing to go 6 year / $100 million, largely because it would be heavily front loaded. A large chunk of that would be the posting fee which would coincidentally come in a year in which the Cubs have money to burn and not a lot of prime free agents to burn it on.

        The Cubs could bid heavily for Darvish, Cespedes, a mid-rotation starter (Maholm?), the free agent pitching coming out of Korea, and probably still have room to take a one year gamble on someone like Sizemore or resign Pena. Playing 2012 with a roster that blends young talent with international gambles might not be a bad way to get ready to compete for the division in 2013.

    • Jeff

      Kosuke Fukudome was a pretty big star in Japan and that didn’t really pan out to any new revenue streams.  It’s a lot of money to invest in an unknown commodity.  I think I’d rather see the Cubs give that money to CJ Wilson.

  • Kyle

    I would take a chance on Darvish at 6/$75 total, definitely. It’s a big risk, but it has a huge payoff if it hits.

  • http://bleachernation.com ricosanto

    Posting 25 or 30 million just to sign him would be a HUGE Mistake, Like you wasted 60 mil for Fukudome, who’s real worth was about 15 mil at best. Sign a proven commodity, Fielder,Buhrlie, chris young,Maholm.. I heard cubs are very interested in Gio Gonzalez( would be good) Trade Soto and Marmol.

    • Kyle

      The Cubs paid $47.3 million for Fukudome, ultimately. He was worth about half that, according to Fangraphs’ evaluations (which aren’t perfect, but are a nice useful quick tool).

      The big disappointment was his defense. His bat just about did enough to justify his contract if he could have been a plus defender in right, but he just wasn’t.

      • CubFan Paul

        i disagree on offense being just enough, in fact, i’d say his defense was more than enough and his bat underperformed by a mile in power and RBI production

      • pfk

        Are you kidding? Fukudome was considered by most as one of the best defensive right fielders in the game. His bat was only good in April and May. His glove was excellent all year – in right field – not center

  • fearbobafett

    If it pans out i think you got this kid for a lot longer than just 6 years, depending on what he would be looking for after his first contract is up, but at 31, you have the potential to a “face” of the franchise for a good decade.

  • CubFan Paul

    i like his height (6’4″, room for muscle) and his genes (half Iranian, not a small asian)

  • Levo

    I’m sorry…hasn’t Cubs and Theo been burnt enough with big pay to unproven big league talent? Matsuzaka and Fukudome should be thought of when deciding to spend money again. I understand they say he’s better……

    • Brian

      Well just like in baseball there is a three strike rule, and both the Cubs and Epstein are on strike two. They can make it like Mr. Baseball and possibly make it strike three (Darvish) and four (Cespedes). Highly doubtful if you ask me, and even if he they aren’t what they were made I give them props of going after them.

    • hansman1982

      Just because Fukudome and Matsusaka failed doesnt mean that Darvish and Cespedes will fail.  They are not related.  What you hope is the Theo and the Cubs have learned from those previous failures and will apply those lessons to future foreign FA’s.

      Your argument is like saying because the Cubs failed with Soriano we should never spend on big name free agents.