It was only a matter of time before Yu Darvish was asked for his thoughts on Masahiro Tanaka's seven-year, $155 million contract with the New York Yankees. That moment came quickly, as Darvish was asked the inevitable question while meeting with the media for the first time on Tuesday morning.
Of course, in their preparation to ask Darvish the standard Tanaka question, reporters probably didn't anticipate anything other than a standard "He's a terrific good pitcher and I'm very happy for him” response, but Darvish's answer and the relaying of his quote through his translator and eventually through social media actually created quite a stir, at least initially.
Rangers Yu Darvish on Tanaka deal: I don't know too much about the new posting system but I think the Yankees gave him too much.
— Anthony Andro (@aandro) February 18, 2014
Say what? That almost comes across like an honest, straight forward answer with a hint of jealously and discontent mixed in.
And really, who would blame him if that were the case? After all, when Darvish signed with the Texas Rangers in January of 2012, he only received a six-year, $60 million contract. A price that was likely driven down by the enormous $52 million posting fee the Rangers owed the Nippon-Ham Fighters, but a price he had to accept if he wanted to pitch in Major League Baseball.
With a $20 million posting fee cap now in place under the new system, and with players now open to negotiate with any team willing to make a maximum bid, Tanaka held the power in his negotiations. As a result, he got a very sweet deal that will undoubtedly be dissected and debated for the next seven years.
Darvish's frustrations with the changes in the system and how they might benefit a pitcher like Tanaka would be understandable if true. They would also serve as a juicy sidebar to the inevitable comparisons that will come as Tanaka settles into MLB.
The only problem is, that's not how Darvish intended the comments to come across. Somewhere along the line, a joke got lost in translation, and for that Darvish immediately issued an apology on Tuesday afternoon.
"I am sorry if anyone took my comment seriously about Masahiro Tanaka at the press conference today. I assumed by the reaction in the room that everyone knew I was joking."
Apparently not, or at least those in the room didn't go out of their way to note a joking tone. The quote was dangled out there without much context, and naturally some thinking and perhaps over analyzing followed.
It happens. We're all guilty of it because we all get caught up in the rush to judgment, but some follow up questions and a little more clarification was probably in order in this situation.
Either way, with Darvish's apology out there we can safely move this to the "non-story" file and move on to the next one.
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