December 16, 2011
After years of speculation and intense coveting, it appears that Yu Darvish may not be coming to America after all.
Rather, if a report from the New York Post is correct, the Japanese pitcher could be bound for Canada. Reporter George A. King III says that the Toronto Blue Jays are expected to be the high bidder for Darvish's negotiating rights when the Nippon Ham Fighters finally get around to accepting their bid before Tuesday's deadline. The Blue Jays could pay between $40 million and $50 million for just the ability to speak with Darvish, King reports.
Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, meanwhile, is reporting that Rogers Communications — owner of the Blue Jays — issued an order to sign Darvish at any cost.
"I was told Rogers Communications said: 'Whatever it costs, sign him,' " said one executive. "Only (president) Paul Beeston and (general manager) Alex Anthopoulos know the number on the bid in baseball operations."
I don't quite understand why Nippon would need another three days to process the giant pile of cash sitting in front of them. But it might take us that long to process such a giant offer from the Jays. Breaking the bank on a bid for Darvish is way out of character for the franchise. Indeed, you'd have to go all the way back to the B.J. Ryan and A.J. Burnett signings in 2005 or Frank Thomas in 2006 to find the last time the Jays spent such big bucks on someone outside of their organization.
Given the return that Jays received from Ryan — as well as being previously hamstrung from the Alex Rios and Vernon Wells contracts — you can almost understand why the Jays haven't been that spendy. But with the CBA changing the landscape and the team's traditional struggle to lure free agents north of the border, it also makes sense that they'd go after a big fish like Darvish. He'd fit perfectly atop a young rotation and team that's only bound to get better.
At the same time, Darvish will face a lot of pressure, considering I've already seen people angrily suggesting that a $50 million posting would have paid for two years of Prince Fielder, a proven and everyday commodity.
But first things first. These Blue Jays rumors have to prove true.