A show of hands: How many of you know who Yu Darvish is? Not many, right? Well that’s because here in the states most of us are still being consumed with postseason baseball and haven’t really spent any time talking about potential deals for the 2011 season.
Yu Darvish is being touted as the next power phenom arm out of Japan and is the latest trending topic in baseball.
Shortly after Dice-K left for Boston, Darvish quickly became the poster child of Japanese baseball where he is still very much looked at as Japan’s baseball preservation.
And Darvish doesn’t come without his accolades.
He brandishes a 63-24 record with a 2.20 ERA and 752 Ks, and has a mile long list of career awards:
- 2× Pacific League MVP(2007, 2009)
- 2007 Eiji Sawamura Award
- 2007 NPB Strikeout Champion
- 2009 NPB ERA Champion
- 2× Best Nine Award (2007, 2009)
- 2x Mitsui Golden Glove Award (2007-2008)
- 2006 Asia Series MVP
- 3x NPB All-Star (2007-2009)
- 2007 Climax Series MVP
- 2006 Japan Series Champion
Yurvish is also highly coveted for his repertoire of pitches that seemingly needs very little work, including a four-seam fastball, a dangerous slider, and he has even been known to deal out a screwball.
His complimentary pitches include a splitter, a curve, a changeup, and a two seam fastball more commonly known in Japan as a Shuuto; a pitch made famous by players such as Noboru Akiyama, Kenjiro Kawasaki, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Masumi Kuwata.
But what are the odds of Darvish—a player who hasn’t actually expressed interest in coming to America—actually playing for a MLB team?
We’ll take a speculative look at 10 teams who have been named as possible suitors, and look at the odds of each team possibly grabbing Darvish’s services.
The Pirates have basically zero chance of signing this kid, but grabbing a player such as Darvish in Steel Town would really change the landscape of the NL Central.
The Pirates could really use a high-quality pitcher to round out a developmental squad that is still a few years away from being really dangerous, but stranger things have happened, right?
Odds: A million to one.
The Indians are a young squad to say the least, and have a really bright future ahead of them, but lack any real serious threat on the mound currently.
Darvish and his excellent command could be that threat.
The Indians do have money to play around with, and could even entertain the notion of bringing the kid in if he (Darvish) does in fact put himself out there, but as you will see, the Indians will be up against some bigger wallets, lessening their chances for a possible deal.
Odds: 200 to 1.
If there is any team that needs a pitcher, it’s the O’s, especially after a disastrous 2010 season and failed experiment with pitcher Kevin Millwood.
Again, if Darvish becomes available he would be a great youthful compliment to Jake Arrieta, but just like Cleveland, they probably won’t last long in the arena with some of the other teams bound to show interest.
Odds: 175 to 1.
The Rangers are another more mainstay team that has expressed interest in Darvish’s services—should they become available—but have a ton of issues that could stand in the way.
They just broke the bank on a huge television deal for 2011, and still have to figure out what to do with DH hitter Vladimir Guerrero, and starting pitchers Rich Harden and Cliff Lee.
If the Rangers want to remain a postseason threat for the next couple of years—which I am pretty sure they want to do—they may not have the funds to ink Yu Darvish with the aforementioned lingering over their heads.
Odds: 150 to 1.
After the postseason, the Rays are going to have an all out clearing house in their dugout, and pitchers will be the first to go.
So it would seem likely that the Rays would go after such a promising young arm, in hopes of giving their franchise a shot in the future arm.
The rays have the payroll, and will obviously have toe room, but the real question is will they be enticed by FA more than one player?
Odds: 50 to 1.
The Braves have already locked up Tim Hudson on an extension, and have the wonderful services of Tommy Hanson so adding another phenom to the mix would be huge for the Braves.
But highly unlikely.
The main issue the Braves will face in the offseason is what to do with their aging bats, and where to pull help from.
They can get by with the pitchers they have, but they certainly can’t get by with the hitters they have.
Even so, with a changing of the guard, there may be a change in philosophy, should Darvish become available.
Odds: 45 to 1
Ah, now we start getting into the nitty-gritty of things right? The Mets need a pitcher that could be looked at as the future of the club, there is no doubt, which makes Darvish a tasty option.
The Mets can afford a pitcher who is speculated to command a five-year deal worth around $25 million, if he does in fact decide to come to the states.
But the Mets, like their Atlanta counterparts, also need hitters…badly!
The Mets would like nothing more than to entertain the notion of picking up a phenom, but the fact remains that this club needs younger, healthier bats and legs to make their unbalanced lineup more…well, balanced.
Odds: 20 to 1
The Mariners are an interesting team that has expressed interest in Yu Darvish.
They have the money, they have the room and they have one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in all of baseball.
Seattle is a team in transition; one that could seriously enjoy the services of Darvish. But it is also a team that lacks one particular aspect that the remaining two have.
Still, the chances are there, and it isn’t as if Seattle is totally out of the picture.
Odds: 15 to 1
The Yankees organization sort or resembles a cross between Superman and the government: Whenever there is a top prospect in need of a top-dollar contract, whenever there is another team looking to possibly improve themselves, the Yankees' gigantic wallet will be there to push everyone out of the way, and do what they want!
(Just kidding for any ultra-sensitive fans out there.)
The Yankees never pass up the chance at wheeling and dealing for a player who has potential phenom written all over him, and with a couple of spots opening up in the rotation, you can be sure the Yanks are going to throw their hat in the mix.
But the Yankees are yet another team in need of some younger, more reliable bats, which could screw things up for them in the long run.
But again, if Darvish does decide to come to the states, the Yankees are a strong possibility for a home.
Odds: 10 to 1
The story basically writes itself. Darvish is being touted as having sharper stuff than Dice-K, Darvish has family ties in Boston, and following in his predecessor’s footsteps is almost tradition in Japan.
So what’s standing in the way?
The very topic we’ve been talking about since the first slide: Yu Darvish.
The Red Sox also have a ton of questions to answer that could affect their potential buying power—with contracts for Ortiz and Beltre being so up in the air—but boy, would Darvish be a nice add.
In the end, until Darvish commits to wanting to be in the States, there isn’t much hope for anyone at the moment.
But it is definitely a topic to follow this winter.
Odds: 8 to 1