Six years after going all in—committing about $103 million to a Japanese pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka—the Red Sox face another decision concerning a so-called "can't miss" hurler from Japan, Yu Darvish.
The uncertainty swirling around the question of the potential availability of Japanese pitching sensation ended this week when he announced that he would subject himself to the posting process in order to pitch in the US.
The posting period will end on Wednesday, Dec. 14. According to mlbtraderumors.com, the high bidder will have a 30-day exclusive negotiation period with Darvish and his representatives Don Nomura and Arn Tellem. If no agreement is reached, the posting fee will be refunded and Darvish will return to his current team.
On the face of it, Darvish sounds like the real deal. The soon-to-be-26-year-old right-hander allowed only five home runs all year, while posting an 18-6 record with a microscopic ERA of 1.44, for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japanese Pacific League. He is widely considered to be the best pitcher in Japan.
So far, every indication out of Fenway Park is that the Red Sox have little or no interest in submitting a significant bid by next Wednesday.
In my opinion, that is a very wise decision. There are enough warning signs out there for Red Sox GM Ben Cherington to think twice about jumping into these perilous waters.
In the slides to follow, I follow the reasoning of Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci, among others, who throw up caution signs. In his story, he reports that he asked an MLB executive if the poor track record of other pitchers from Japan would discourage teams from bidding high on Darvish. The exec replied, "Remarkably, no. In the landscape of a competitive market, people turn a blind eye to history or believe this is the one guy who is the exception to the rule—that somehow this one guy is more capable than all the others we know about."
Wasn't it Einstein who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?
Here are 15 reasons for the Red Sox to pass on Yu Darvish.