Yu Darvish is an exceptionally talented pitcher. Ever since I've learned his name, I have checked out his dominant stats, watched clips of him, and even watched a full start of his. There is no denying that he has great stuff and fantastic potential. I would be an absolute fool to deny any of this.
But that kind of potential doesn't come cheap. And after all, he's just a prospect, a prospect just like any other we have seen or heard of: extremely highly-touted and totally unproven. To simply say no to such a vast amount of potential is rather ignorant. So, of course, I did my research and I formed my opinions.
Let's take a look at the main reasons why the Yankees should avoid the Darvish sweepstakes.
First, consider this from 3460kuri:
The posting system for players from Japan has reached such a level of absurdity that I would just avoid it altogether.
I know that the posting fee doesn’t count as salary, but it’s still real money. When the Red Sox laid out $103 million to acquire and sign Dice-K, it was 4th largest amount ever spent on a pitcher, a pitcher whose only experience against MLB level competition came in the World Baseball Classic.
It just makes no sense.
According to a group of agents and a team executive, Major League teams will lay out a projected posting fee of about $45M, and that is only for the right to speak with him. For what it's worth, the executive projected a $55M posting fee. Then, the group projected a five or six year deal worth between $72-75M. We are now talking about a franchise potentially spending $130M on a man that has proven nothing at the Major League level.
For comparison, only CC Sabathia will have had more guaranteed money surrounding him by the time his current contract runs its course. Not even Cliff Lee reached $130M in guaranteed money, but in this scenario, the Yankees would be spending more money on an unproven player than every single pitcher to have ever played Major League Baseball with the exception of one man.
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Second, what constitutes Darvish getting this type of money? Sure, he is talented, but that doesn't mean he has the proper leverage to demand such astounding amounts of money.
Essentially, the Yankees would be treating Darvish like he has the leverage of an elite Major League starting pitcher on the free agent market, when in reality, Darvish has neither of these things.
The winner of the bid allows for only that team to negotiate with him, which gives all of the leverage to the winning team. Either he comes to America or he stays in Japan.
Why would the winning team pay this type of rumored price tag? The projected contract would put Darvish in the Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, and Jered Weaver category in terms of the money due to them. Those three were established, front-line, All-Star caliber pitchers when they signed their deals. Darvish? Not even close.
To pay upwards of $40M just to speak with him, and then give him King Felix/Verlander/Weaver money? Darvish doesn't have the track record or the leverage to do this.
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Third, the idea of giving a pitcher a six-year deal is extremely risky. It's even riskier when this pitcher hasn't thrown a pitch at the Major League level. Add in the fact that the Yankees have way too many long-term contracts already handed out, and we have the potential for disaster.
One look at Cot's Baseball Contracts shows that just two years from now, the Yankees will be paying nearly $152MM to just eight players (A-Rod, CC, Tex, Burnett, Jeter, Soriano, Cano, Granderson). Adding another $12-15MM per year would bring this total to around $164-167M on just nine players.
Simply stated, this is not a good time for the Yankees to be adding long-term contracts to the already massive amount of contracts they have handed out.
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Finally, there's still a great amount of risk in the signing itself. We have no idea how he'll perform, how he'll adjust to pitching every fifth day rather than once a week, making 32-34 starts instead of 26, new training or throwing programs, Major League quality hitters, or how he'll react to an entirely new culture on an entirely new continent.
He also has well over 1,000 professional innings on his arm at a very young age. That's a lot of mileage.
Darvish represents a world of talent and fantastic potential, but the Yankees need to just sit this one out.
I wanted to point out that Brandon, Chris (Yankees2), and I decided to put this debate together before we realized that 3460Kuri had written a post about avoiding Yu Darvish. I wrote this prior to reading Kuri's piece.