People have been talking about Yu Darvish for a long time. Such a long time. And for good reason - Yu Darvish is and has long been terrific. He's young. He's durable. He hasn't posted an ERA north of 2 over the last five years. People stateside couldn't wait for Darvish to be posted.
This offseason, Darvish was posted. You know that Darvish was posted, because it was a huge story. The Texas Rangers wound up winning his negotiating rights after submitting a high bid of $51.7 million. Word is that they narrowly edged out a substantial bid from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Along the way, the whole posting process was secretive. It had to be. There were conflicting reports on who was and was not interested. There were conflicting reports on how high the high bid would be. One thing was certain, though: some team, somewhere, would put a lot of money on the line. It was a virtual lock that Darvish would command the largest or second-largest posting fee in history.
Which makes this, from Jon Heyman, so strange:
The Yankees made only a modest efort at Yu Darvish, submitting a posting bid of $15 million, which was well below the Rangers' winning $51.703,411 bid.
$15 million. Now, we can't guarantee that this figure is accurate. The Yankees have no obligation to be completely honest with the media. But still, let's take it as truth for the moment. $15 million, for the right to negotiate with Yu Darvish.
That was never going to work. Never ever. Daisuke Matsuzaka commanded a posting fee of $51.1 million in 2006. Ichiro commanded a posting fee of $13.1 million all the way back in 2000. Kazuhisa Ishii commanded a posting fee of $11.3 million in 2002. And perhaps most significantly, Kei Igawa commanded a posting fee of $26 million in 2006 - from the Yankees. The Yankees' reported bid for Darvish was a little more than half their bid for Igawa, who wasn't as good a pitcher.
It makes you wonder: what's the point? The Yankees' bid had no chance. I guess statistically it had some chance, some infinitesimal chance, but it was so small as to be negligible. Why even bother submitting a bid in the first place, assuming that placing a bid isn't as simple as sending a text message? Why go through whatever amount of work for no reason?
It could be that this is the Yankees making a statement that they don't trust Japanese pitchers. That even a guy as talented as Darvish doesn't stiffen their britches.
It could be that the information is wrong, and that the Yankees actually submitted a high bid, but don't want people to know they were outmuscled.
It could be that this information is wrong, and that the Yankees actually didn't submit a bid. I don't know why this would be true.
And it could be that the Yankees are preparing for the next big name to be posted. Maybe this way they won't be thought of as so much of a threat the next time around.
Or it could be something else. I don't know. What I know is that, if I were the guy who filled out the Darvish bid paperwork, I'd be kind of annoyed. That's time that could've at least gone to Minesweeper.