According to a report by George A. King of the New York Post, the Toronto Blue Jays have submitted the highest bid to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and will be awarded the opportunity to work out a major-league contract with Japanese sensation Yu Darvish.
The report states that Blue Jays made a bid “above $40 million and possibly close to $50 million."
By Tuesday at 5 p.m. EST, the Ham Fighters, for whom Darvish pitched the past seven years, will either accept the highest bid or reject it, though they are highly anticipated to accept it.
Once accepted, the winning club will have 30 days to come to an agreement on a contract with Darvish. If no agreement is reached, the posting fee will be returned.
If Darvish did come to the States to pitch and was successful, he would be bucking a recent trend. Daisuke Matsuzaka was paid over $100 million in total by the Boston Red Sox, and while he had one terrific season, he never really lived up to the hype.
But Darvish is considered to be an even better prospect than Matsuzaka was. He is of Iranian and Japanese descent and stands 6'5"—very tall for a player in the Japanese league.
Meanwhile, there is no question that Darvish has been the best pitcher in Japan. Well, almost no question.
While Darvish won 18 games with a career-low 1.44 ERA, leading the league with 28 starts, 232 innings, 276 strikeouts and a 0.82 WHIP—while walking just 36 batters—he did not win the Japanese version of the Cy Young.
Regardless, Darvish is the hottest Japanese import today, and is expected to be a No. 1 or 2 starter in the majors.
Yet one of the concerns about Darvish pitching in MLB is how his arm will respond to pitching every fifth day. In Japan, he worked only once per week, and never made more than 28 starts in a single season.
You can't blame Toronto if they indeed made such a large bid for Darvish. After all, they are competing with two economic powerhouses in their division with the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
Once the bid is accepted, it is speculated that it will take $50 to $75 million to sign Darvish, making the total payout well over $100 million.
That's a lot of money for a guy who has never pitched one inning in the major leagues.