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As (sort of) expected, tonight the Nippon Ham Fighters accepted the high bid for the rights to negotiate a contract with their star pitcher, Yu Darvish, which bid belonged to the Texas Rangers. The bid was worth a reported $51.7 million, slightly higher than the $51.1 million that netted Daisuke Matsuzaka’s rights in 2006. The Rangers now have 30 days to sign Darvish to, you know, an actual contract. If they fail, Darvish goes back to Japan for 2012, and the Rangers get their money back.

I know many of you weren’t crazy about the Cubs spending upwards of $120 million in total for six years of Darvish, but it’s rare that you have the opportunity to acquire a 25-year-old could-be ace for nothing more than money. I hoped the Cubs would land him even when I thought the bid might reach $60 million. I am, therefore, bummed.

If the Cubs weren’t going to win the post – and I hope the Cubs’ bid amount leaks in the next few days – the Rangers certainly aren’t where I was hoping Darvish would land. With Darvish going to the Rangers, it seems highly unlikely that they’ll continue to pursue a starting pitcher like Matt Garza on the trade market.

For what it’s worth, the Blue Jays probably would have been the best winner for the Cubs. That would have left the Rangers, who’ve been connected to Garza, looking for a top-line starter. The Jays would not have been out of the market for another starting pitcher – they were a finalist, along with the Reds, for Matt Latos’ services this weekend. They were ready to acquire Latos, even knowing they’d made a huge bid on Yu Darvish. Further, if the Jays added a pitcher like Darvish, it’s conceivable the Yankees and Red Sox would feel pressured to similarly add to their respective staffs.

But, it wasn’t to be. I wonder how quickly the Jays will be on the horn to the Cubs (and A’s about Gio Gonzalez).

Hopefully activity will finally pick up now.

  • pakman23

    Love me some BN, but these comments just got to idiotic. Peace fellas.

    • dude

      Amen.

  • Madprizamwoo

    Me too!!!

  • Mike F

    People are overeating to the media who is feeding you agent musings for the most part and that of jilted lovers in the media in both markets, Boston and Chicago. I personally believe Theo is allowing it to happen as it’s good for him, the organization and his ultimate purposes of which he has little interest in sharing. With all due respect anyone who over-reacts to the Gammons, Rogers and Sullivans and Boras of this world has only themselves to blame. It’s not even Christmas and there’s a lot of action left. I don’t think Theo is slow on the down beat, off, etc. I think he’s wisely chosen not to share his plans with us and there are still a couple of months left. First, a lot of moves will still occur. Second, we don’t have a singular clue as to his plan only hints from outsiders. Third, something we never discuss in our lust for talent at the ML not necessarily a bad thing, Theo will have in the upcoming draft what it is ultimately akin to a lottery pick and 4 other top 100 draft selections. Doesn’t mean he’ll be amazingly successful, but with the scouting upgrades, if he doesn’t fail and I don’t believe he will, we WILL have a top 10 minor league system in 2 years.

    But that’s not to say there may not be problems, we don’t know and won’t until we let this play out. The only concern I have is that could be a grain of truth to what the naysayers, Rodgers, Sullivan, Miles, Wittenheimer and the loons in Boston are peddling without having the balls to say. Namely the owner is broke and the Cubs have no money to do anything. I don’t believe it and don’t buy it, just recognize that a lot are saying it. Could Theo be a burn out victim sure any of us could too, but he’s not lost it and he’s not missing anything. Before anyone hits the panic button at least wait until spring training and even then is awful early. And I understand the the frustration of being 55 and Cub fan, basically ridiculed by almost all of baseball as gluttons for punishment and wait for next year.

    One more thing, I know some are at least hurt we didn’t get darkish, but at 120 M which is likely the all in on him, the best deal you ever make is the often the one you missed. Too much for that particular player in this particular situation.

    • Skinner

      Yeah, it’s disappointing (that punting sound you hear is the Cubs 2012 season, and maybe 2013 along with it), but now that another 70-75 win season appears inevitable it’s time to embrace the likelihood that, as tough as it is to swallow, the smartest move this offseason is what Theo is doing: laying low and accepting another lousy season or two, bypassing these players that have, despite their strengths, pretty substantial risks associated with them for the money they’re demanding. The time to roll the dice on a Darvish is when you’re in the position the Rangers are in, or the Red Sox were when they got Dice K. Cubs need to minimize their risks for the time being, otherwise the mess that Theo was brought in to clean up will likely only continue to grow. We need to remember this is about building an organization that succeeds indefinitely, not one that jams open short contention windows followed by long stretches in the abyss. Darvish and Fielder may seem, due to their ages, like smart moves for the future but given the extra risks surrounding them, they are not the sort of moves an organization in utter shambles should make at this stage.

      So while I am a bit pissed the new front office appears indifferent to contending in 2012, I also know that, if they are as good as they’re supposed to be, enduring a few more meh seasons will be worth it if the team starts to win year in and year out, built the way Theo wants it.

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        Finally some realism. I don’t think it could be summed up any better than that.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        You’re not wrong about the punting being a long-term fine decision.

        But I tend not to think Darvish is as much about 2012 as he is about the long-term. He’s just 25. That’s barely older than the average AA prospect.

        Good thoughts, though, and I agree with the spirit of what you’re saying.

        • Eric

          but you’re still giving 20 mil a year to a pitcher, who only is a POSSIBLE ace. For 5 to 6 years. That is an extremely risky move, and only one that a team who has all of the peices in place should make.

  • Mike F

    I agree and we have to remember it’s December 20th not February or March 20th and before we get too worried about what the media or even us thought might have been a good move here or there for the sake of the argument, the real truth is we don’t have a clue as to what Theo’s plans are and we keep getting fed media and agent speculation, they’re talking not Theo. So there are moves to be made yet, shoes to fall and Theo will be one of the first to ever rebuild without changes if everything freezes as is, so before we get to upset at least wait until the Cubs convention and I would contend sometime in spring training.

  • ferrets_bueller

    Now that I’m awake and have given this some thought…I’m quite glad.  We’ve managed to dodge the three biggest bullets this season- the massive overpay for Pujols, the overpay for a guy who’s a question mark in CJ Wilson, and the massive, massive investment in a complete unknown in Yu.  This team is not in a position to be making such moves.  Now, as long as we don’t get into a 10 year deal with the fat man from up north…we’re good.

  • Cheryl

    Too bad, but maybe we’re lucky. This allows for a more planned development for the future. The Cubs still needpitching but will have to go back and rethink their options. I doubt Fielder will materialize as a Cub too. And I think its better that way. We’ll just have to wait and see what Theo and company have planned.

  • polocubs

    while i am satisfied with the lack of movement on these major deals to date…and understand that we are in a postion of rebuild…i still believe that we have got to put something on the field to generate some excitement and create hope, not only for the future, but also for 2012…the fans do deserve to have something to show for their endless support…give us a few reasons to continue to believe

  • Bren

    Color me as glad they didnt waste $120M on this guy, who will more than likely fan out after a few years, if he follows the trend of his countrymen. The biggest disappointment is the wrench it throws into any Rizzo trade; hopefully, if it was remotely true, they can replace Texas with Boston or Toronto as the third team.

  • chad

    70-75 would be a great season for this club that is not being assembled. we are the third largest market and we are acting like the kansas city royals or pittsburgh pirates for god sakes with absolutely no intention of spending any money and when we do it’s on retread garbage.

    • Toosh

      Kansas City has a better farm system.

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        Kansas city has a great farm system, just look at the young kids on there big league team and the kids bustin down the door in the minors. It won’t be long before there winning the AL central with a home grown ball club. Something the Cubs hope to be doing.

  • cubsklm

    Every one is missing the point!

    When is Rick Perry going to secure the border?!

    There are three things the Cubs should do:

    1. SignPrince
    2. Sign Cespedes
    And the third, uh, oh, it’s, give me a minute, can’t think of it, oops!

    Now everyone lightened up, it was/is stupid to invest this kind of money on a unknown starting pitcher. they just gave an unknown C J Wilson’s money.

    We’re y’all going to pay more for Darvish, than what Garza makes? Or we’re you going to trade a proven
    Garza, with hopes of Yu. After Fukudome really?

  • fearbobafett

    If we are really going to be in rebuild mode then there is ZERO reason to keep the likes of Garza, Soto, Marshall, Marmol.

    Either go that direction or make improvements that help you over the next 5 years. I sure could back this approach, vs. what we are seeing now.

    The NL central is a joke and it will not take as long to rebuild as it would say in the AL East.

    Darvish although expensive and an unkown in MLB, would put much better numbers in this division than he will with an AL club.

    If the plan is to still get Fielder but totally on your terms that is fine also, but in the end I feel they will lose out on this one, becuase he is going to want the longer deal, and i doubt that going to Seattle will change his mind.

  • NL_Cubs

    Cubs “Things to Do” (or not to do) “Line-up” List for 2012:

    1. Don’t seriously go after Pujols – check

    2. Don’t spend HUGE on MLB unproven Darvish – check

    3. Hold Garza (and others) in trade until values increase up ’till  end O’ July – check

    4. Refrain from entering into another stupid BIG money contract, this time with Fielder – check (hopefully)

    5. Consider Cespedes as part of future plan within reasonable limits – open

    6. Theo and company play the PR game masterfully by keeping Cubs in the conversations regarding high profile players with no serious intentions to sign them – check, double check

    7. Cubs front office does not need, nor should they seek, spend and destroy the future for the sake of just “doing something” in 2012. They need to take their time and be smart – check, check and check it again

    8. Front office continues to evaluate the organizational structure, they are putting their long-term plan together with implementation and results expected to take a few years, NOT in one year – BIG CHECK

    9. Build the “Cubs Way”, keep intentions for players/trades close to the vest, stay the course and build for the future 3-5 years up the road to make the Cubs a perennial heavyweight – open with optimism

  • Cubs please win

    Hey Brett, great website. It has become my favorite website for Cubs news and comments.

    Regarding Yu Darvish, I went back and forth about wanting the Cubs to win the rights to sign Yu Darvish. When the announcement was made that Texas had won, I was really surprised about how disappointed I was that the Cubs had lost. I’ve seen numbers between 25-50 million dollars of extra revenue a team would receive for signing him due to his iconic status with the Japanese culture. Any validity to this?

    It will be great if the Cubs are able to develop a strong farm system and be a consistent contender. With the new CBA though it will be very difficult to do this. Our scouting and player development will really have to be on their “A” game to be able achieve this goal. Given the current rank of our farm system somewhere in the middle at the very best, I do not believe this piece is in place. It will take time do develop this at every level in the organization.

    At the moment, we look like a small market team trying to save money. There is no reason why you cannot work on putting a contender on the field while building your farm system simultaneously. It does not have to be one or the other. Adding a few pieces now to get the Cubs to play .500 baseball would have been a good goal. (This could have happened by signing one of the better free agent pitchers and the Prince) along with the complimentary moves we are curretly doing.

    I’m nervous with the current managment not moving on any of this years free agents. Making a few good moves could have started the building blocks for a contender in 2 or 3 years. Trading Garza and Marshall signals to me this is more like a 5 year plan.

    Let’s hope the managment team makes the right decisions.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks for the thoughts, CPW, and welcome.

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