The last thing I want to do is relive the frustratingly uncertain days leading up to the announcement of the winner of the Yu Darvish posting. The rumors, perhaps more than any time in recent memory, were profoundly flawed, yet stated with such certainty, that every pundit knew two things to be true: the Blue Jays would win, and the bid would be perversely high.
And then the Rangers won with a bid just a hair over the winning bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka. So much for the rumors.
Still, as much as I don’t want to relive that time – the Rangers won, the Cubs didn’t, the end – I remain very curious to know just how adequately the Cubs, and other teams, bid.
We don’t yet have the exact number for any other team, but we can do some surmising, based on Jon Heyman’s latest report. Heyman says that no team was even remotely close to the Rangers’ $51.7 million bid, including the Blue Jays, and notes that the Yankees’ bid was in the $15 to $17 million range.
If that’s true, it’s now easy to see why there were simultaneous reports that the Cubs believed they had a shot to win (from me) and that their bid was not very high (from Boston media). If every other team was bidding in the teens of millions, perhaps the Cubs’ bid would have been competitive, but for the Rangers’ bid.
Maybe the Cubs bid $20 million, and had gathered intelligence that the other bids would be quite low (why, I can’t say – fears that Darvish wouldn’t sign if the post bid was too high?). That could explain why they thought they had a chance to win, and why reports said the bid was very low, relative to the ultimate winning bid. Keep in mind, teams who lost probably have a little incentive to downplay their bids now (“Pfft, those stupid Rangers spent $51.7 million just to talk to Darvish! We bid, but we were only going to pay $15 million. They’re stupid. We’re smart.”).
I think we’ll probably find out at some point what the Cubs’ bid was, or at least what range it was in. For now, it sounds like the Cubs’ bid was clustered together with most of the other bids, with the Rangers blowing everyone else out of the water.