The Texas Rangers were announced as the big winners of the Yu Darvish bid-off on Monday. The Rangers coughed up $51.7 million bucks to acquire just the rights to negotiate with the star Japanese pitcher. It likely will take another $75 million or more to get Darvish under contract. That’s a whopping $120+ million bucks to sign a guy who’s never thrown a pitch in the MLB. It’s a big gamble, but after losing staff ace CJ Wilson in free agency and with their division rivals in the Angels blowing all their money, the Rangers couldn’t just stand pat.
It was a bit of a surprise that Texas were the eventual winners of the bidding war because it was widely thought that the Toronto Blue Jays were going to be the winners. The Blue Jays rumoured victory and subsequent loss has caused a raucous within a growingly impatient Blue Jay fan base. Message boards have been littered with angry fan rants about how the Blue Jays have failed yet again to improve the team via big ticket free agent talent like others in their division seem to do year in and year out. Whereas others are now pleading for AA and the Blue Jays brass to use the Darvish money they were going to blow and go after Prince Fielder.
Losing out on Darvish was a winning scenario for the Jays. $120+ million on a player that’s never played in the bigs is just too risky. Darvish isn’t the first hyped pitcher to come out of Japan. Recent examples of Dice K and Kei Igawa are prime examples of pricey additions that have not worked out as advertised. Actually, can you name one Japanese star pitcher coming over to the MLB that has been worth the price? Hideo Nomo you say? Probably not a good choice, his average season in the bigs worked out to 13-12 and a 4.24 ERA.
The Blue Jays cannot afford to have a $120+ million failure, especially with attendance numbers still not up to snuff. The Blue Jays do need front end of the rotation help and if the rumours are true it appears AA has his claws in other possible starters such as Gio Gonzalez and Matt Garza. I would take either of those 2 starters over Darvish in a heartbeat. Both are proven winners, both are fairly young, and both have reasonable contracts.
As for Prince Fielder…it would be a dream to have him and Bautista in the middle of the order. Unfortunately, it will only ever be a dream. The price tag is astronomical and I doubt Fielder has Toronto circled on his list of must have destinations. I still have a gut feeling that AA will be adding a big bat via the trade route. The Jays fans need to stay patient. I know it’s hard, but the team is headed in the right direction…In AA we trust.