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.