Today is Yu Darvish Posting Bid Day

Having posted their ace, 25-year-old Yu Darvish, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham-Fighters are accepting bids for the right to sign Darvish to a contract today until 4pm today. The Chicago Cubs, among many other teams, are expected to bid on the one-in-a-generation Japanese talent.

Although the blind bids are due today, Darvish’s team has four business days to accept the highest bid, so we may not have a final decision until late next Tuesday. I did a little research on Daisuke Matsuzaka’s post back in November 2006, and it looks like there were about 11 days between the start of the posting period and the announcement that the Boston Red Sox had won the right to sign Matsuzaka. Obviously things could be different this time around, but that at least suggests that we might be in for a wait on finding out who won.

From there, the winning team will have 30 days to negotiate a contract with Darvish.

There has been a great deal written about Darvish over the last few weeks as anticipation for his post grew, culminating in his team’s decision to officially post him late last week. One of the most interesting pieces, written by SI’s Tom Verducci several weeks ago, analyzes the transitions of Japanese stars to Major League Baseball, and concludes that there may be something to the generalized notion that the players rarely adjust well over the long term.

The Red Sox were acutely aware of the strain of pitching more often (every fifth day, rather than every sixth or seventh day) over a longer season against deeper lineups with more power, to say nothing of different baseballs, ballparks, training regimens, cities, travel demands and cultures.

So the Red Sox did everything they could to pamper Matsuzaka. They gave him a no-trade clause, a physical therapist, a massage therapist, an interpreter, a media liaison, eight first-class airline tickets per year between Boston and Japan, a housing allowance of $100,000 per year, a car service, box seats at Fenway Park and uniform number 18, a traditional number for an ace in Japan. They also gave him rest whenever they could. Of the 61 games he started in 2007 and ’08, Matsuzaka pitched on the sixth or seventh day 35 times, or 57 percent of the time.

And despite all those preventive methods, Matsuzaka crashed into The Wall.

Over his first two seasons, Matsuzaka was 33-15 with a 3.72 ERA. But starting with Year Three, Matsuzaka has been 16-15 with a 5.03 ERA while suffering shoulder, hip and elbow injuries. He is not expected to pitch again until the second half of next season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

How players from NPB translate to the majors — as well as putting an economic value on that bet — figures to once again be a key part of baseball’s free agent season this year. A half dozen or more players from Japan will be available to major league clubs either as free agents or through the posting system in which a player’s negotiating rights are put up for a blind auction. The standout of the crop is expected to be 25-year-old Nippon Ham Fighters righthander Yu Darvish, if indeed his club makes him available through the posting process.

Said Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine, “The anecdotal assessment suggests starting pitchers have a two-year window of success followed by a rapid decline, followed thereafter by disappearance. Even a lot of the relievers have had success quickly, reaching a hot peak followed by a rapid decline.”

The entire article is very much worth a read, particularly today, as we anticipate what might be with Darvish.

So, just how high might today’s bids climb? Countervailing forces make it pretty hard to predict. On the one hand, Darvish is the best international pitcher to be made available, perhaps ever. On the other hand, the last pitcher to come out of Japan with as much hype as Darvish was Matsuzaka, who was ultimately deemed a failure. Then again, Darvish is a far, far superior pitcher to Matsuzaka. And, with the new CBA dramatically restricting spending in the draft and on international free agents (note that the restriction, which doesn’t kick in until next year, doesn’t apply to Japanese professionals or players over 23), teams may be more willing to allocate their money to things like a huge posting bid on Darvish.

Taken all together, it’s easy to see why some are predicting that Darvish’s posting bid exceeds that of Matsuzaka – which was more than $51 million. Jon Heyman says he’s heard from an anonymous MLB executive that the total cost for Darvish, between bid and contract, could exceed $112 million. That suggests a posting bid approaching $60 million. For what it’s worth, Heyman guesses the final tally will be lower than $112 million.

For his part, there are rumors that, if the winning bid is too high, Darvish will be disinclined to sign, partly in protest of a system he believes unfairly restricts Japanese players, and partly because the higher the posting bid, the lower the contract he’ll be offered.

For now, we wait, as a number of MLB teams probably are, their offseason plans temporarily on hold pending the announcement that they’ve got the chance to lock up a top pitcher, but that their wallets are considerably more light for the rest of the Winter.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

115 responses to “Today is Yu Darvish Posting Bid Day”

  1. kernzee

    Given the Cubs stated plan of controlling premium talent in their peak years there are three players that it makes sense for the cubs to be aggressive about this winter , Fielder , Darvish and Cespedes . How Theo feels about any of them is at this point unknown , but we will soon find out .

    1. Adam H

      Duh. I think any Cubs fan has said this for awhile, Kernzee…..I know I have. Except you forgot Soler, who’s only 19 as well

  2. EtotheR

    With Darvish…my feeling is “why not?” Go for it.

    Pay the big posting fee…sign the big deal. It’s certainly a crap shoot, but the upside potential is enormous. If he fails…you went in swinging. If he succeeds…he could be a great big windfall profit in wins and revenue. It feels like he has that kind of star potential.

    Go. Get him. If he peters out…we all came to the dance knowing the odds.

  3. MoneyBoy

    Brett – I read that article … it was really an eye-opener.   I am not in favor of spending that kind of money on an unknown …

  4. nonesuch

    I say pass.  keep looking in the Dominican.

  5. hansman1982

    He is likely what will happen:  He will sign with the Cardinals and become a greater pitcher than Cy Young just because it is the freakin Cardinals.

    Now if he signs with the Cubs, I expect an injury in his first outing in Spring Training where he will never pitch again.

    Is it sad that when I think of Darvish that is the first thought that pops into my mind?

    1. ColoCubFan

      No, not sad. Just living the life of a Cub fan. I am SO not looking forward to Christmas at Mom’s this year with my brother the Cardinals fan. God he loves to rub it in!!!

      1. fearbobafett

        I feel your pain, i am the only living relative in mine or my wife’s family that is a Cubs fan. My kids are two young to understand yet that you can’t be both a cubs and sox fan, that at some point you need to pick one.
        That damn World Series lost my oldest to wrong side.

        1. Jim

          I’d cut him out of the will.

      2. Dougy D

        Just talk about how good the Angels are going to be with Pujols and that the cardinals offense is taking a big hit with his loss. That might simmer him down a little bit. My buddy, who is a Cards fan, was distracted for about 2 days after the Pujols-Angels signing.

  6. MightyBear

    Spend the money. Dice K was older than Darvish. Darvish is only 24. He fits the Theo mode to a tee. Good command, throws strikes, has all the pitches, very disciplined. This guy is the real deal. Spend 60 mil and sign him to a 5 year deal for 75 mil back loaded. 2003 was the best chance the Cubs have had to win it all since 1908 – Wood, Prior, Zambrano. Brown, Reulbach, Overall. When you see Darvish, think Wood, Prior.

    1. TWC

      Uh, that’s kind of racist, MightyBear…

      1. Spencer

        are you being sarcastic twc?

        1. TWC

          Yeah, you’re kinda racist, too, Spence…

          1. hansman1982

            and you get a racist, and you get a racist, and you get a rac…oh, well not you, but you get a racist…

  7. Jonathan

    The unknown about Soler is money. With all the hype he could potentially take all of a teams international signing budget. Do you go for one or two big international signings or spread your money around?

    1. JB88

      Would you have spent $20 M on Bubba Starling? I would have. That seems to be the projection for what it would take to sign Soler.

      1. Jonathan

        I’m not sure how a team could sign him for 20 million under the new cba. My understanding is he would fall under the 2.9 million annual international signing budget each team has. You can trade to increase your budget by 50% but that still only leaves 4.35 million to sign him and then no budget for other international signings. Cepedes and Darvish do not fall under these restrictions and are more valuable than before the cba.

        1. Luke

          The international free agent budget doesn’t kick in until the summer signing period. If he signs before June or so, he’s effectively uncapped.

          And if, for some reason, he signs after that, blowing out the budget on the international scene is no where near as punishing as it is with the draft. The worst restriction (if memory serves) is that the max contract the team can offer to players is capped in the next season. Given that the overall cap is going to drive down signing bonuses anyway, that may not be devastating restriction.

        2. paul

          Jonathan,
          are you listening to what you are saying? one has nothing to do with the other. That doesn’t start until next year

  8. Spencer

    Okay, so the bid money goes to Nippon, then the team that wins gets 30 days to negotiate, right? What happens if in that 30 days he doesn’t sign?  The bid money is non refundable and he just goes back to Japan?

    1. Kyle

      Technically, you don’t have to pay the bid money until you sign the player. If you can’t agree to terms with the player, you don’t have to pay it.

  9. MightyBear

    No, if they can’t sign Darvish the bid money goes back to the team and Darvish goes back to Japan. It’s just like oakland last year. They won the bid on a guy from Japan, couldn’t get a deal done so he went to Japan and the A’s got their money back. In fact, one of the sticking points on Darvish is if he doesn’t get big money, he won’t sign. He’s quoted as being happy in Japan making good money there. However, the opportunity to pitch against the best has got to be the siren’s song for any pro athlete. He’ll sign over here.

    1. Toosh

      Darvish would prefer to pitch for a team on the West Coast, but he does not get to choose the winning team’s bid.

      1. fearbobafett

        Doens’t most of those guys want to pitch on the west coast?
        Better time zone, shorter flight home.

        I think Matsui was the only one that said the wanted to play for the Yankees.

  10. CubFan Paul

    with the yankees, sawx, jays, rangers, & angels involved I think the posting fee will exceed $65million ..add on the minimum 5yr $75million contract he’ll demand = $150millionish

    1. JulioZuleta

      That’s awful if it gets that high. I think it’ll top out at 35-40, but I could be wrong. If it hits 65, you’re basically paying $30 mil a year for a guy who hasn’t throw a pitch to a major league level hitter.

    2. Hawkeyegrad

      That would equate to $30 million per year for what people are projecting as a #2 starter. Given the lack of pitching talent in the FA market, I could see teams paying up to $18 million a year. Once they’ve paid the posting fee there is an incentive for teams to offer a longer term deal for a 25 year old so I expect a 6-7 year deal as well. My guess is a $55 million posting fee and a 7 year deal at $10 million per year.

    3. Luke

      Remember, it’s a blind auction. Teams won’t be advertising their bids, so there won’t be any inflationary effect from teams bidding against each other.

      There will be a tremendous psychological chess game inside the various front offices as each team tries to figure out how much they can spend and how much the competition will spend, but to a great extent that will be constrained by the funds available to each team.

      The posting will be high, but I can’t see anyone going to $65 million. Even for the rich teams, that would be a tough lump sum for the budget to absorb.

  11. cubsklm

    Why spend money just to get negotiating rights?

    Use the money and sign Saunders and Jackson.
    I think most agree we’re talking to get the bid and a contract 100 million.

    Saunders and Jackson for 3 years probably somewhere around 50 – 60 million.
    Use the other 40 million to sign Prince.

  12. Hokies&Cubs

    So what is the time limit for a re-posting (if that is allowed). Like, if he doesn’t sign with the first team, do we have to wait until next off-season to get another chance, or is it a one shot deal?

    ps – sorry if someone already answered this and I missed it.

    1. Luke

      I don’t think he can be posted twice in one off season, and I think he is a free agent next winter. That’s why his team is expected to accept virtually any decently high bid. They have no incentive to turn it down. If they do, they’ll lose him to a North American team for nothing.

      1. JulioZuleta

        Knowing that they lose their money if he doesn’t sign, is their any chance his Japanese team would (is it even allowed?) accept a slightly lower bid from a West Coast team knowing there’s a better chance he’ll sign.

        1. Kyle

          They can’t. They’ll be told the amount of the winning bid and that’s it.

          1. Hawkeyegrad

            I didn’t realize that Darvish will be an unrestricted FA next year. That makes him a huge signing risk as all those dollars going toward the posting fee can go to him if he waits a year. I wonder if his Japanese team can decide to give Darvish some of the posting fee to “get a deal done” if Darvish declines the MLB team offer. If I’m Darvish, that’s what I look for.

            However, that completely skews the process so they may not be able to do that. With that being said, given the dynamics, I go high on posting fee and see how the chips fall. At a minumum, if you want him, you will get another shot at him next year without paying the posting fee.

            1. hansman1982

              Ya, the unrestricted FA part next year is a HUGE wild card in the posting.  If I had to place an over/under I would put it at $47.5M but I could see some team throwing in a $75-100M bid just to block other teams and try and get him next year.

        2. Luke

          I don’t think so. I don’t think the Japanese team sees anything except the dollar amount of the highest bid. (Brett, correct me if I’m wrong, I think you have a better grasp on the details of this).

          If I understand it correctly, it works like this:
          A – The player is posted by the Japanese team.
          B – MLB teams submit closed bids to the league office for the right to negotiate with the player (where we are now).
          C – The league opens the bids, and reports the dollar amount of the highest bid to the Japanese team. The Japanese team does not learn the identity of the team at this time.
          D – The Japanese team decides to accept or decline the bid based solely on the amount and reports that decision to the MLB offices.
          E – The MLB offices contact the team with the highest bid and let them know their bid has been accepted.

          and I suppose…

          F – The Internet explodes with people complaining that the right/wrong team spent too much / too little on a guy who will be the next ace / complete bust.

          I think that’s the order. I suspect the press will leak who has the winning bid around step C.

  13. Dumpman

    I would guess this thing gets ridiculous. I’d guess it approaches 60m to talk to him. All in all I wouldnt be surprised if the total gets up to 140/6 or 7 years.

    Its a hard thing to think of really. A lot of variables are in play here. Take this for example. Darvish is young and hasn’t thrown a pitch in the MLB yet. Does he get penalized for that? Do you say “Hey, he’s just like a guy we drafted comming up from AAA at 24 years old. You should get league minimum for a couple seasons and then we’ll give you arbitration numbers for the next 4.” Or does he get paid like an ace? 100/5 after posting fee? I just dont know. This I do know though. Think of whats reasonable now a days for players. Now add a couple years and 5mil to 8mil or so to each year. It will probably be the same case for Darvish. The thing to remember though, is if we did win the bid, we have all the leverage. Either he comes to us or he goes back.

  14. die hard

    Ricketts family may have made a better use of their money by purchasing the land across the street under the McDonalds as was reported a few minutes ago…

  15. kubphan82

    Skip Darvish, the posting and the big deal… Let someone else take the risk…

    Go after W-Y Chen, no posting, lower contract, good arm slot, 5 pitches, mid 90′s velocity, lower miles on arm, international pitching success, and a lefty.

    That also frees up more money for another pitcher, dominicans, and a 1B if desired, while receiving an AT WORST projected 5, but at best a 2/3… Sounds solid to me…

    1. Hrubes20

      Velo is down to around 90-91 and every report I’ve seen said he essentially only has 2 pitches worth using. Most project him as a BP arm.

  16. hansman1982

    “Jon Heyman says he’s heard from an anonymous MLB executive that the total cost for Darvish, between bid and contract, could exceed $112 million. That suggests a posting bid approaching $60 million. ”

    I am guessing that anonymous MLB exec is working for a team who may not be serious players for Darvish but someone in their division is so they want to try and drive up the bids.

    I am guessing the winning bid comes in between $45-50M but there is an outside chance a team that knows they couldn’t sign him makes an obscene bid to get the rights and let him hit FA next year.

    1. Zelie

      But wouldn’t some/several team(s) assume that somebody will bid higher than Dice-K’s winning bid (50?).

      And as for your comment above, Hansman, isn’t it the case that what the bidding process buys for the winning team is exclusivity? In other words, you get a crack at him before he hits unrestricted free agency when competition among different teams would theoretically drive up his contract? Harder for the player/agent to argue a higher contract when offers are still hypothetical? Those are honest questions, as I don’t know much about this stuff…

  17. Cheryl

    Better to try for him then not. If he’s great and another team has him, you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t bid. Same with the Cubans. Go for them.

  18. Dougy D

    I am sure that I will be proven wrong, but why not spend that money on a couple of solid proven MLB pitchers like Buehrle or Wilson (sorry for a possible miselling on Buehrle’s name). That would put 2 solid lefties in our rotation and keep the money in the US economy, or at least start it in the US economy. I don’t see the need to take a risk like that on a guy that you don’t know whether or not it will pan out. I hope that Epstein would learn from the Diasuke deal that he made in Boston.

    I think that purchasing more land around Wrigley would be a better purchase as well. Even if the costs paid are ridiculous. They can’t be more ridiculous than paying some Japanese team 60 million doll hairs to pay someone that hasn’t played in a n MLB game a huge guaranteed contract.

  19. CubsFanatic

    Definitely getting his Jersey if he signs with us.

  20. ari gold

    If we win the bid, that will have a huge impact on our resources for the coming year. If we win with a $50M bid, that will hamstring our budget for this one year. Or do you think we’d bite the bullet and still go after someone like Fielder?

    1. Kyle

      He’s worth hamstringing our budget this year for. At some point having great players > having budget room.

  21. Hawkeye

    Was just over on MLBTR (forgive me father, for I have sinned) and they had a live chat going on with Tim Dierkes.   Somebody posted this question.

    Comment From Breaking NewsBreaking News: ” Is it true what WGN Radio is reporting? That is Cubs won the right to Yu Darvish for 46.01 Million?”

    Dierkes asked who the source was, but I don’t think his live chat is a real dialouge.  More like questions submitted ahead of time.   I know the bidding ends at 4 pm, but what time zone is that?

    1. Hawkeye

      Dierkes later posted that it was highly unlikely that was an accurate statement.   Just an FYI

    2. Kyle

      The bidding ends at 4 p.m. central time, 5 p.m. Eastern time, and 7 a.m. japanese time. In other words, in about 40 minutes.

      So no, there was no report on WGN Radio that the Cubs won the bidding, unless someone has access to a radio that receives the future.

      1. Hawkeye

        “So no, there was no report on WGN Radio that the Cubs won the bidding, unless someone has access to a radio that receives the future.”

        So, your saying theres a chance?

      2. JB88

        As a superstitious fellow, wouldn’t that be an absolute kick in the crotch if that info was true, but that another team in the next 30 minutes submitted a bid for $46.02 M which ended up being the actual bid? Ugh.

  22. Luke

    So far on Darvish:

    We know there was at least one bid.

    And it didn’t come from the Orioles or the Red Sox.

    Some are saying we’ll know the winning team tonight, and some are saying it’ll take a day or two.

    1. Luke

      Twins appear to have sat it out as well.

      Speculation the Yankees bid (surprise!) but nothing definite yet.

  23. hansman1982

    Wow, Twitter needs to take a page from Facebook and strive for 0 downtime.  Isn’t this the 2nd or third time in the last month they have crashed, or am I just thinking of the day last week we broke the BN server?

  24. Lou

    Giants (interesting) and Mariners are heavily involved—Olney.

  25. Stinky Pete

    I’m reading Toronto and Texas are favorites…

     

    1. Lou

      Jays are my favorite to land him.

      1. JulioZUleta

        I have a feeling he wouldn’t sign if he had to move to Canada. He’s been pretty picky about playing in a different part of the country other than the West coast, imagine how he’d feel about playing in a different country all together.

        1. Lou

          True. Then I guess he doesn’t sign if that were to be how it plays out. Not sure how interested he’d be to go Texas though? This purely speculation though. As jfish1219, just said it is a silent bid. Maybe I shouldn’t say land him–win the bid.

  26. Freddy

    How terrible would it be if the Cubs bid like $40 mill and came second to a team that bid $40.1 mill

    1. Jeff

      Not very, I think it’s a waste of money

      1. SweetJamesJones

        Very Price is Rightesque…

  27. jfish1219

    It is a silent bid I don’t get how they can claim that anyone is the favorite