Let the bidding begin.
25-year-old Japanese ace Yu Darvish will be posted by his team later today, which will allow MLB teams to bid on the exclusive right to sign him. Teams interested will submit bids to Darvish’s team, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, over the next four days. The bids are blind, which means no team knows what the other teams are bidding (the point, of course, is to get MLB teams to absolutely blow their wad on a huge bid). After the bids are in, Hokkaido will have another four days to decide whether to accept or reject the highest bid (they’ll accept). After the bid is accepted, the winning MLB team will have 30 days to sign Darvish.
Darvish has been discussed here previously, but the short of it is this: he’s as good as it gets in Japan, is young, has great stuff, and has thrown a ton of innings. In 2011, Darvish had a 1.44 ERA in 232 innings, striking out 276. Again, as far as Japanese baseball goes, he’s as good as it gets.
The Cubs have long been expected to be serious bidders for Darvish, but they’ll have ample competition from the Yankees, Rangers, and Blue Jays, among others. The posting fee could exceed the $51 million it cost to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka five years ago.
It will probably be an exciting four days as rumors flow in and out about who bid, how much they bid, who’s going to win, etc.