Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yu Know Who!

Yu Know Who!

So the Winter Meetings are over and done. The Angels and Marlins made headlines like never before, and baseball as a whole is on track to spend close to $1.3 Billion this offseason. However, while many expected that this was the offseason the Blue Jays would break out and spend big on a free agent, and that really hasn’t been the case. Not yet at least. While the Blue Jays did managed to make a great trade to obtain their new closer, who should become a core player of the Blue Jays, they haven’t really been players for some names that many fans would’ve liked to have seen become Blue Jays – Prince Fielder for example. You can check out to see how badly some fans want a big name. These fans feel that in order to win, you need to spend, and everybody knows that the Rogers own the Blue Jays, and could quite possibly be the richest owners in baseball, so why not spend? Anthopoulos has said that the money is there if he needs it, but has also gone on to say that he does have specific “payroll parameters” to work within. Sounds contradictory, but in reality, it isn’t.

While the Jays have been making great strides forward since Alex Anthopoulos came on board, they still have so much room to improve, which is amazing when you consider how much they have improved since this time last year. Brett Lawrie is now everyone’s favorite new Blue Jay, we can look forward to a full season of Colby Rasmus in centerfield, and we have Kelly Johnson back to solidify the middle infield. No doubt that without the flux these positions went through last year, a solid presence will immediately benefit this team. But fans want the Jays to spend and the Jays have said payroll will rise as attendance rises. A real chicken and egg stagnate. So now with Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, CJ Wilson, and Mark Buehrle signed on with their new teams, and the with market for Prince Fielder essentially being reset, that could very likely explode at any time, and then the Jays will truly be out of the Fielder chase. So that means there are no big free agents left for the Blue Jays to sign, right? Yu gotta be kidding me.

Enter Yu Darvish, who was posted today from the NPB, the Japanese version of the MLB. In the NPB he owns a career record of 93-38 (a .710 winning percentage), 18 shutouts, and an ERA of 1.99 and a WHIP of 0.98 over 7 professional seasons. In 2011, his ERA was 0.83 compared to a league average of 2.95. In short, he is a phenomenal young pitcher on the rise. Many people like to compare him to Daisuke Matsuzaka (Dice-K) from the Boston Red Sox, but a scouting report from May 2011 has this to say.

Darvish’s most contemporary Japanese comparison has been Boston Red Sox starter, Dice-K. The comparisons between the two pitchers should stop after “country of origin.” Dice-K’s tumultuous major league career is not an indication of the kind of potential Yu Darvish possesses. Major league teams knew exactly how good Dice-K could be. His talent was not on the rise when he made the jump to the major leagues. He was a legend in Japan during high school, and had a solid professional career. By the he switched to the majors, he was a crafty veteran with a well-documented scouting report.

High words of praise, which likely reflect their workloads, and not necessarily their careers as they were both be 26 when they made their MLB debuts. Still others go on to state that a comparison to the original Japanese legend, Hideo Nomo, would be more apt. In my own view, Yu Darvish is a young, controllable player, in a high impact position, with an incredibly high ceiling, and I get the sense he has only touched his potential. Also known as Alex Anthopoulos’s ideal acquisition.

For the Blue Jays, this represents a rare opportunity. They have the chance to acquire a front-of-the-rotation starter, with low miles on his arm, who has had a history of success (even against MLB players), who can be controlled for the next four, five, even six years, and they won’t have to give up any draft picks or any valuable prospects to make it happen – only money. A lot of money. Which begs the question – Will the Blue Jays really put forth a serious bid to obtain Yu Darvish. Thanks to the current system in place, MLB teams have to bid for the rights to simply negotiate with the Japanese players, and then get to sign a contract from there. Dice-K’s winning bid from the Red Sox was more than $51 million dollars, and then signed a contract that was also worth more than $51 million, bringing the total cost of acquiring Dice-K to almost $103 million, and Yu Darvish is expected to top that. We all know that the Blue Jays have the money to make a serious run for Darvish, but there are so many questions beyond that. Is the money available? Do the Blue Jays view Darvish as being worthy of such a large investment? Will they be contending soon enough to make such a large investment worthwhile?

For his recent openness, Anthopoulos has been characteristically vague. When asked how Darvish compared to Dice-K, he replied: “I wouldn’t get into specifics about how good I think a player is going to be or isn’t going to be. Maybe after players are signed and things like that I would be a lot more (open) to commenting about abilities and things like that. But there’s no doubt it he’s a very talented player.” For those unaware, Anthopoulos made a trip to Japan earlier this year to scout Darvish, and it’s hard to imagine he didn’t love what he saw in him. He has every quality Anthopoulos covets, unlike the free agents available in the US, and as previously stated, unlike free agents in the US, can be obtained without losing precious picks or players.

So what are the Blue Jays to do? Well, I am no GM and I may be a little trigger happy, but I can’t see any reason why the Blue Jays shouldn’t make every effort to make Yu Darvish a Blue Jay. The Blue Jays have been big spenders in the international free agent market the last couple years, spending $10 million to obtain Adeiny Hechavarria, and were short on obtaining Aroldis Chapman despite offering $23 million, not to mention all of the spending the Blue Jays have done on the draft in recent years, which thanks to the new CBA will be severely cut down. So the chances of the Blue Jays finding an international free agent of this quality again, likely won’t be happening soon, which is why the time is right, and the time is now. I will say it again. The Blue Jays should make every effort to obtain Yu Darvish. Forget Prince Fielder, forget trades, forget everything. For the next four (business) days, the Blue Jays efforts should be spent making sure that their bid is the winning bid.

If you aren’t sure, just YouTube "Yu Darvish." I'm sure you'll get plenty of results.

Or should I say "YuTube?" Yu decide.

Yu can follow Brandon on Twitter @Bam_86

No comments:

Post a Comment