Sox Dodge Bullet, “Whirling” Darvish bid to Rangers [Record Rights’ Fee: $51.7 m]–Yu Better than Dice-K?
By Earl Nash
Yu Darvish will not be pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays and threatening the Red Sox chances for the Wild Card in the AL East.
If you took the 5-1 odds on the Rangers, good for Yu!
The winning posting bid was a record $51.7 million.
The Rangers now have a 30-day window to come to terms with Darvish.
Darvish will likely command a contract larger than the one that Matsuzaka signed with the Red Sox but less than the five-year, $77.5 million deal that C.J. Wilson agreed to with the Angels earlier this month.
The addition of Darvish to the rotation makes Texas the favorite to repeat as champs of the AL West, despite the Angels of The West filling the clean-up hole with Pujols. With the A’s repeating history with their Five Year Leap Forward plan and the Marinades, failing to make a splash with a trade, re-running “Felix & the Dwarfs, a parlay with the Rangers and Angels for WIN and PLACE and sure to show up in the playoffs from the AL West seems a lock.
Q: How does his contract compare to the one the Sox gave to Dice-K?
A: Boston’s winning post bid for Dice-K was $51.1-million; total contract $103.1 million.
Texas’s winning post bid for Darvish was $51.7-million; total contract unknown yet.
Matsuzaka got a $2 million signing bonus, $6 million in 2008 , $8 million in each of the following three seasons and $10 million in each of the final two years. The agreement will include $8 million in escalators based on awards that would bring the total to $60 million over six years.
Now to the question on everyone’s mind: How can a Japanese pitcher be named Darvish?
A: His mother is Japanese and his father is Iranian.
Q: Will he sign a contract with the Rangers?
A: Definitely! It’s his chance to step onto the big stage on The Show. The Nippon Ham company dos not have enough pork bellies in the warehouse to run the profit margin up to match the Texas offer. In the world of baseball management, when it comes to making Darvish “an offer he can’t refuse.” I’ll bet my cannoli on Nolan Ryan.
Q: How does he compare to “Dice K”?
A: He makes it look like “Dice K” “crapped out. Darvish’s highest ERA in his career was 1.88 in 2008. Matsuzaka’s best ERA in Japan was his 2.13 ERA in 2006. So, in Darvish’s worst year, ERA-wise, he still had a lower ERA than Matsuzaka in Matsuzaka’s best season, ERA-wise.
Darvish has accomplished an amazing feat of posting a sub-2.00 ERA in each of his four seasons in Japan. The half-Japanese, half-Iranian pitcher’s stats are phenomenal. His ERAs in Japan are 1.82, 1.88, 1.73 and 1.78, respectively.
Darvish has also pitched more than 200 innings in three of his four seasons in Japan. He pitched 182 innings in 2009, the only year he did not reach 200 innings. Darvish has been very healthy in Japan, and he has never suffered from any major injuries.
Darvish has thrown 40 complete games in four seasons, along with nine shutouts. His sub-1.00 WHIP for his career is yet another amazing stat. Pair those stats with his career K/9 of 9.2 and his career BB/9 of 2.1.
Matsuzaka’s transfer in 2007 to the Red Sox has been the most highly publicized and his performance has been mediocre at best. Since his arrival, the pitcher has compiled a 106-105 record with a 4.25 ERA; contract: $103-million, record winning post bid of $51.1-million.
At the opposite end of the ledger is Ichiro Suzuki who landed with the Seattle Mariners in 2000 after they posted a winning bid of approximately $13-million. Suzuki has gone on to become a franchise icon, a 10-time all-star and MVP who’s bound for the Hall of Fame.
Q: Is he just another over-hyped Japanese star pitcher?
A: No, says Matt Snyder, CBS Sports:
“…the standard generalization from many seems to be that we have to lump him in with the other starting pitchers who have come over from Japan. Hideo Nomo and Daisuke Matsuzaka had good starts but didn’t sustain it long-term (though Dice-K still has a chance to change that and Nomo had a very good year for the Dodgers late in his career) while Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa were unmitigated busts….Darvish is better than each of these four ever was. Period.” [SEE CBS chart: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22297882/33955130]
Q: What do the scouts report about Yu?
Plus: Shows the ability to throw a solid four seam fastball, two seam fastball, slurve, and change up that should be the staple in his repertoire at the major league level. He has the size and frame that you look for out of a top of the rotation pitcher. Mechanically, he is sound and shows little sign of command or injury risk long term. He shows the staple work ethic, conditioning, and dedication that indicate he will be able to maintain his effectiveness later in his career.
Minus: He comes from a league that pitches completely differently than any American style throwing program. Almost every single pitcher from Japanese leagues has not met the standards they set in the NPB. While he throws a fastball that sits 94-95 mph and touch 97 at times, his five day throwing program might have him sitting 90-92 mph and touching 94 at times. Everyone is saying that he will post numbers that will give him profile him as a 5.0 WAR type pitcher, but that is not a slam dunk and only Hideo Nomo posted back to back plus 4.0 WAR seasons in the majors after playing in Japan. Japanese pitchers have done well in the first two years, but the success has not lasted long in their MLB careers. [Don Olsen – Director of Scouting Don joined Orioles Nation]
Q: What about his pitch count?
A: Darvish threw 3,396 pitches in 2011, which would rank 22nd in the majors. In 2010 and most of 2011 basically pitching once per week, so he was often getting six or seven days off between starts. [SEE Pitch count chart here: http://mopupduty.com/yu-darvish-pitch-count/]
Q: How does he compare to say Toronto’s Ricky Romero?
A: In 232 innings last season playing for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Darvish had an earned run average of 1.44 with 276 strikeouts and 18 wins – all career bests. To put that in perspective, top Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero won 15 games this past season with an ERA of 2.92 and 178 strikeouts over 225 innings. American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander piled up 24 wins with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts. Darvish pitched in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing as well as the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He is a two-time Pacific League most valuable player with a career record of 93-38 career record and 1.99 ERA over seven seasons in the Nippon Professional Baseball league.
Q: Does Darvish have any “trick” pitches?
A: He worked out with the pitcher in the following video, but was unable to repeat pitch.
Q: Does he have a middle name?
A: Farid, meaning “glorious.”
Q: Has he ever used “enhancement” substances?
A: Tohoku High School said Monday it has decided to suspend the Nippon Ham Fighters’ top draft pick Yu Darvish from school after it confirmed a media report that the 18-year-old pitcher was smoking while taking part in minor-league spring training.
Nippon Ham on Sunday ordered Darvish not to leave the dormitory after a picture of him smoking in a pachinko parlor was taken by a weekly magazine in Naha, Okinawa, near the minor-league training site.
Q: Does he have a favorite cause?
A: Darvish established a humanitarian fund dedicated to the construction, installment, and maintenance of wells, well pumps, and rainwater storage facilities in developing countries called the “Yu Darvish Water Fund” in February 2007. He has announced plans to contribute to this fund by donating 100,000 yen each time he notches a regular season win. The fund is managed by the Japan Water Forum.
Q: Has he done any commercials for products?
A: Darvish is the current spokesmodel for DyDo’s D-1 COFFEE canned coffee line.
Q: Where can I find his career stats?
A: At Wiki Peeky: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yu_Darvish#Career_statistics
Q: Have Ranger fans given him a nickname?
Q: How does that translate to English?
A: Y. J.
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