As the deadline for teams to submit posting bids on Japanese right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish passed Wednesday night at 5 p.m., the baseball world waited to learn which team submitted the winner and if the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, Darvish’s Japanese team, would accept.
Because at least one team bid, Major League Baseball notified the Japanese commissioner’s office of the amount of the highest bid, but not the team that placed it. The Fighters now have four days to decide if they accept the high bid, but an MLB official expected their decision – and the disclosure of the winning team – to come Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
The Nationals have remained quiet on any potential bids. They scouted Darvish heavily, dating back several years and were clearly interested, but General Manager Mike Rizzo would not divulge if they planned to bid on him.
Last year, Darvish had a 1.44 ERA and struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings while walking 1.4. He throws his darting fastball in the mid-90s, and it’s been clocked at 98. His 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame is ideal for a right-handed power pitcher.
It will be costly to obtain him – at least $100 million total, probably more, with about $50 million going to the posting fee. The team that wins the right to negotiate with Darvish will have a 30-day window to strike a deal, or Darvish will go back to Japan.
The Blue Jays and Rangers are widely considered favorites to land Darvish. The Boston Globe reported the Red Sox, who landed Daisuke Matsuzaka in December 2006 in the highest-profile posting to date, did not submit a bid for Darvish.
The Chicago Tribune reported the Cubs submitted a bid for Darvish. New team president Theo Epstein was the Red Sox’s general manager when they successfully bid on and signed Matsuzaka.