Tag:Yu Darvish
Posted on: December 20, 2011 4:33 pm

From Yu to Yoenis

If not Yu, maybe Yoenis.

It's time to move from one international man of mystery to another. It's time to move from one player fans crave without really knowing much about him to another.

Yu Darvish is off the market, his rights awarded to the Rangers late Monday night for a cool $51.7 million.

Next up, Yoenis Cespedes.

The 26-year-old Cuban outfield (and YouTube) sensation isn't technically available yet. His agent told ESPNDeportes.com that Cespedes should be able to establish residency in the Dominican Republic this week. There's another step after that before he can become a free agent, but the expectation in baseball is that he'll officially go on the market sometime in January.

And the expectation in baseball is that the bidding for him could get crazy.

Unlike Darvish, the Japanese pitcher who had to go through the blind-bid posting system, Cespedes will be a true free agent, meaning that competing teams can bid up the price.

Rival teams say that the market is still hard to call, but some regard the Marlins as the early favorite. In the latest Cespedes video to hit the internet, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen and owner Jeffrey Loria are featured prominently.

The video also shows Cespedes with Willie Horton of the Tigers, with Pat Gillick of the Phillies, with Theo Epstein of the Cubs and with Dave Magadan of the Red Sox. The Yankees are also expected to be involved, although their interest has been described as moderate.

Also, word in the international scouting community is that the White Sox watched Cespedes in a private workout recently. The White Sox have had recent success with Cuban players, having signed Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo.

There is also some talk that the Orioles will bid. There could be more. When Cespedes had an open workout last month, 150 scouts showed up.

An official of one team involved said that Cespedes' agents expect him to land a contract of between $25-45 million, but some in baseball have even speculated that the final price will be higher.

As with Darvish, there's no doubting Cespedes' natural ability. Many scouts have compared him to Bo Jackson, with a combination of speed and power that is rarely seen.

"He can beat out an infield hit to beat you, or he can come up the next time and hit it 500 feet to beat you," said one scout who has watched Cespedes. "He has a compact swing, with power. The swing plays, and the speed plays."

So what's the risk?

As with Darvish, Cespedes has never faced anything close to major-league competition day-in, day-out. No one knows how quickly he'll make the cultural adjustment.

Scouts from two teams said that they would feel more comfortable starting him off in the minor leagues first, to ease the adjustment.

As with Darvish, fans around baseball dream of Cespedes in their favorite team's uniform. On Twitter, I get more Cespedes questions than Prince Fielder questions.

With Darvish off the market, and with Cespedes about to enter it, let the madness begin.
Posted on: December 19, 2011 8:38 am
Edited on: December 19, 2011 7:16 pm

Fighters will accept Darvish bid tonight

Yu Darvish is so big that there's an announcement of the announcement.

The star Japanese pitcher's agent wrote Monday morning on Twitter that the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters will announce late Tuesday morning Japan time (Monday night in North America) whether they have accepted the bid. CBSSports.com has learned that the Fighters have decided to accept the bid, with an announcement planned for early afternoon Japan time (likely around 10 or 11 p.m. ET Monday night).

Once the Fighters officially accept the bid, Major League Baseball will reveal which team made that bid.

While people in baseball have speculated that it is either the Blue Jays or Rangers (with more people saying Rangers on Monday), the actual information has been so tightly held that it can't be sure that the speculation is accurate.

The winning bid is expected to be very high, and could even challenge the record $51.1 million posting fee that the Red Sox paid five years ago for the rights to Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Once the Fighters formally accept the bid, the winning team will have 30 days to negotiate a contract with Darvish. The posting fee is only paid (by the winning team to the Fighters) once a contract is agreed to.

Category: MLB
Posted on: December 15, 2011 7:47 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 9:21 pm

Darvish: Fighters expected to accept Tuesday

The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters are expected to accept the posting price on star pitcher Yu Darvish, but not until just before the Tuesday 5 p.m. ET deadline.

That means another five days of waiting to find out which team has won the right to negotiate with Darvish, the 25-year-old right-hander who wants to come to the major leagues after a brilliant career in Japan. Once the Fighters formally accept the bid, the commissioner's office will reveal the name of the winning team (even the Fighters don't know which team it is), and a 30-day negotiating window will open.

Ever since the bidding period ended at 5 p.m. Wednesday, rumors about which team won and how high that team bid have been flying around baseball. Talk in the game is that the winning bid was above $40 million, and possibly even above the $51 million that the Red Sox paid for the rights to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka.

As for which team won the bid, speculation continues that it was the Blue Jays, although it is also thought that the Rangers put in a strong bid. The Yankees were said to have put in a "modest" bid, and thus it's considered unlikely that they were the team that won the rights.

Waiting until near the deadline before accepting a posting bid is not unusual. The Seibu Lions did the same thing five years ago, after posting Matsuzaka. And while there was much speculation then about which team made the highest bid, the winner wasn't known for sure until after the Lions officially signaled their acceptance.
Category: MLB
Posted on: November 10, 2011 6:14 pm

Aoki is available, Darvish may (or may not) be

Yu Darvish is the Japanese player you know about.

Norichika Aoki is the one you don't.

Should you?

Depends on who you ask, but we already know one thing about Aoki that we don't yet know about Darvish, the Japanese pitching star who many big-league teams covet: Aoki is definitely going to be posted by his Japanese team this winter, and thus will be available to a major-league team willing to pay for him.

Two or three years ago, there would have been a long line of teams. Aoki, a center fielder with the Yakult Swallows, is a three-time batting champion with speed, compared by some to Shane Victorino.

But he's 29 years old, coming off a bad year, and battling the perception that he doesn't always work hard enough.

"His skills have eroded," said one scout who follows the Japanese market. "Five years ago, I really liked him."

So when the Swallows announced Thursday that they will put him through the posting system, it didn't exactly set off the same stir there will be when Darvish is posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Ah, but when will that be?

The expectation for a long time would be that it will happen this winter, and it still could. But one international scout who knows the Japanese market well predicted Thursday that the Fighters will wait until next winter to offer Darvish to a big-league team.

Under the posting system, big-league teams submit sealed bids for the right to negotiate with the player. The Japanese team can accept or reject the highest bid, and if the bid is accepted the player has 30 days to work out a contract with that one big-league team.

Whenever he shows up, Darvish will be the biggest Japanese star to be posted since Daisuke Matsuzaka, whose negotiating rights cost the Red Sox $51 million in 2006. Matsuzaka later signed a six-year, $52 million contract.

Some people believe Darvish could cost even more, even if Matsuzaka's struggles in Boston give some teams pause.

"Darvish is better," one scout said. "He has a better body, better overall stuff, and he hasn't been overpitched as much. He's also a little more Westernized."

"He has legit front-line starter stuff," another scout said.

But he's not available yet. Aoki is.

"At one time, he was one of the best players there," one of the scouts said.

How much is he worth now?

We'll soon find out.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 24, 2011 12:05 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 12:23 pm

A picture is worth . . .

I'm going to post a link here, even though it's to a page almost none of you can read.

And, I'll admit, I can't read it, either.

But I don't need to be able to read Japanese to tell you that the guy in the red shirt is Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. As our C. Trent Rosecrans pointed out in Pepper, Daniels made his slightly unusual trip to Japan in order to get an up-close look at Yu Darvish, who threw 131 pitches and struck out 13 in eight innings to earn his ninth win of the year for the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Darvish is expected to come to the big leagues next year, so plenty of teams have been following him this season.

How interested are the Rangers?

Well, a picture is worth more words than any I could write (in English or Japanese).

Category: MLB
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