Japanese star pitcher Yu Darvish has no doubt been on the radar of teams like the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers for years, but now that the 4 p.m. CST Wednesday deadline for MLB teams to submit their bids for his services has passed, we will soon find out who wanted him the most. The 25-year old right-handed pitcher burst onto the scene when he lead the Japanese national team to a World Baseball Classic title back in 2009, but he has been dominating Japanese teams for quite a while now -- he went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA, to go with 276 strikeouts and just 36 walks in 232 innings of work for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in 2011.
Bidding was a four-day blind auction process, and at least five MLB teams (possibly up to 10) have made formal bids as a posting fee, including the Cubs, Yankees, Rangers and Blue Jays. The highest bid is expected to be announced later on Thursday, at which point the Fighters will have four days to decide if they accept the bid. If they do accept the bid, the MLB team with the accepted bid then has 30 days to negotiate with Darvish and work out a deal. If no deal is reached during the negotiation window, the posting fee is waived and Darvish will return to the Fighters for another season.
Here is what SB Nation's Chicago Cubs blog, Bleed Cubbie Blue, has to say about Darvish:
...So being posted at 25 is exactly right. Whoever signs Darvish will be getting his prime years.
Now, check out the numbers he has already posted in NPB. He doesn't walk people. He doesn't give up many hits or runs -- he has posted ERAs under 2.00 for five consecutive seasons, and almost had WHIPs under 1.00 all five of those years, barely going over that mark at 1.01 in 2010. Even if you think NPB competition isn't quite what MLB is, that is absolute dominance. No other Japanese pitcher currently in NPB is anywhere close to those kind of numbers. Look, for example, at his ERA compared to the league. There aren't a ton of innings on his arm, either; over that five-year period of dominance he has averaged about 204 innings, not an extraordinary total.
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