The Latest in the Darvish/MLB Saga

» 20 May 2010 » In mlb prospects, nichibei, npb »

I was going to ignore this story, but it just got interesting.

A couple of days ago, Chunichi Sports and Sponichi came out with reports saying that Yu Darvish’s father, Farzad, had been in touch with agent Arn Tellem. At the time, I dismissed these reports as a) Sponichi rattling the cage again, and b) not really news. Agents reach out to unrepresented players; I have firsthand knowledge that at least one agency talked with Yusei Kikuchi last year. So I waited for Darvish to disavow the reports, which he did via Twitter, saying “It looks something about the majors was in the news. There’s not much there.”

Chunichi Sports came back with another story, pointing out that he didn’t explicitly deny the earlier reports, which was an interesting point but I figured the story was over for this rumor cycle.

Then Chunichi’s writer bumped into Darvish at Sapporo Dome during a pre-game workout, and said, “we annoyed you a bit…”, to which Darvish replied, “that’s ok, don’t worry about it. It builds excitement.” Then a brief interview followed, which I have translated below:

Q: How do you actually feel about the Majors?

Darvish: “Regarding the Majors, I don’t know and I don’t have any comment. I’d always said I wouldn’t go to the Majors. Last year I went to the WBC (in America) and thought it was good. Matsuzaka-san, Ichiro-san, Johjima-san, and Fukudome-san graciously told me what is good, what is tough and a lot of things. But this isn’t will I go or not. I like Japanese baseball and I feel that I want to do my best in Japan.”

Q: But, don’t you have any interest in MLB?

Darvish: “I’ve always liked baseball. I look at how the MLB pitchers throw and what pitches they have, and I’d like to take in the good habits (from the Majors).”

Q: How about your relationship with Arn Tellem?

Darvish: “My father (Farzad) has known guys like Tellem-san and (Scott) Boras-san since I was in junior high school and has a good relationship with them. My father is just friends with them. I don’t know my father met [Tellem] this time. Hmm, but I usually know what’s going on. I don’t think my father met him.”

So there you have it. There are people who are convinced that Darvish will try to be posted after this season. I’m not one of them, though. There’s no public indication that he wants to move this season, and it doesn’t make sense for Nippon Ham competitively. Financially, a struggling US economy and weak dollar would likely mean fewer bidders, and a lower yen value for the resultant posting fee and contract.


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  1. Patrick
    20/05/2010 at 4:22 pm Permalink

    I think you are right about Darvish and I feel too many news sources are trying to say that Darvish is interested in pitching in MLB without any real proof, Players who want to be posted seem to be quite vocal about it while Darvish have said very little about the subject.

  2. Patrick
    21/05/2010 at 1:42 am Permalink

    Whatever happened to the talk about abolishing/revamping the posting process?

  3. Patrick
    21/05/2010 at 8:52 am Permalink

    Good question. The collective bargaining-type stories I’ve seen over the last couple months have been more about minor league free agency and playing more games against MLB competition. Haven’t seen much about the posting system.

  4. Patrick
    21/05/2010 at 10:57 am Permalink

    Here are some bullets about posting.

    1. Is posting needed at all? The FA markets within the NPB or MLB don’t have it.
    2. NPB teams losing FA players should be compensated. That would affect whether a team posts a player 1 or 2 years before he becomes an FA.
    3. An NPB team can still deny the highest bidder. For example, assume there is something between the Ham and the Red Sox. The Red Sox bids an insane amount of money for Darvish. Insane enough to kick out the Yankees. After the posting, nothing happens.

  5. Patrick
    24/05/2010 at 1:55 am Permalink

    Yeah, the good faith clause should prevent denial of postings for no reason. Though I don’t think we’ve ever seen it put to the test.

    Also, there’s no agreement for compensation between NPB-MLB for free agent signings (I’m not aware of any compensation system between baseball leagues for FAs, hockey’s regulated, though not ideally, by IIHF player cards), so that’ll have to be put into place first (unlikely?)

  6. Patrick
    25/05/2010 at 7:39 am Permalink

    Well, MLB teams sell NPB teams contracts every year, sometimes for seven figures (Rakuten paid the Yankees $1m for Darrell Rasner, for example). There’s no posting-style blind auction there and it seems to work ok.

  7. Patrick
    26/05/2010 at 1:18 am Permalink

    Dear Patrick,

    Are you, by any chance, thinking of doing a list of 2011 international Free Agent possibilities anytime soon? I would love to see something like that if you get a chance! Thanks so much, and keep up the great work!

  8. Patrick
    26/05/2010 at 12:14 pm Permalink

    I’m going to do that but probably not soon. Before the end of the season though.