The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Should the Yankees Make a Play for Yu Darvish?

The reason for the last Pitcher A vs. Pitcher B thread was to segue into the question in the title.  Whether it’s fair or not, Darvish is going to be compared to other Japanese pitchers that came to the majors.  While it’s not certain he’ll be posted, it’s probably worth exploring in case he is.

Statistics only tell us so much about how good a pitcher is, particularly when trying to assess him in a new league against more difficult competion.  So although I’m going to try and crunch some numbers here to take an educated guess at what Darvish might do in the majors, it’s going to be important that the scouting reports on Darvish feel he’s a viable candidate to provide value as a starting pitcher in MLB.

The track record of Japanese pitchers in MLB is mixed.  Going through the list of Japanese league pitchers who’ve come over to pitch in MLB gives me the following names.

Fukumori, Kazuo
Hasegawa, Shigetoshi
Igarashi, Ryota
Igawa, Kei
Irabu, Hideki
Ishii, Kazuhisa
Kashiwada, Takashi
Kawakami, Kenshin
Kida, Masao
Kobayashi, Masahide
Komiyama, Satoru
Kuroda, Hiroki
Kuwata, Masumi
Matsuzaka, Daisuke
Nakamura, Micheal
Nomo, Hideo
Nomura, Takahito
Ohka, Tomokazu
Okajima, Hideki
Otsuka, Akinori
Saito, Takashi
Sasaki, Kazuhiro
Suzuki, Mac
Tadano, Kazuhito
Takahashi, Hisanori
Takahashi, Ken
Takatsu, Shingo
Tateyama, Yoshinori
Uehara, Koji
Yabu, Keiichi
Yabuta, Yasuhiko
Yoshii, Masato

There are differences in Japanese leagues and parks which I haven’t bothered to try and account for.  You also have starters and relievers and a wide array of ages in this group, which is also something I’m not worrying about right now.  You also have generally older pitchers coming over in terms of the typical player peak, and I ignoring that as well.

I figured the most basic question to ask is how did these pitchers’ performance in MLB compare to their performance in Japan.  So I used matching innings for each pitcher’s Japan time and MLB time to see if I could figure it out.

The idea behind matching innings is to ensure we have the same weighing of Japan and MLB data.  Basically, I compared the pitchers’ career MLB innings to their career Japanese innings and used the smaller of the two as the matched innings.  So in the case of Kazuo Fukumori, I pro-rated his performance over 677.3 Japanese innings to his 4 MLB innings.  I did that for everyone, and then added up the cumulative Japan and MLB performances.  So every pitcher contributed in the same percentage to both data sets.

Japan 8682 6400 2719 3327 485 3398 7858
MLB 8682 8232 4281 4004 1067 3438 7192
Japan->MLB 1.29 1.57 1.20 2.20 1.01 0.92

FIP: Fielding-independent pitching

This is a look at how the pitchers’ cumulative matched inning performances compared between Japan and MLB.  The Japan->MLB line is just the ratio of MLB divided by Japan for each stat.  So on average, we saw an increase in hit rate of about 29%, an increase in runs and earned runs, a more than doubling of HR rate, a fairly consistent walk rate, and about an 8% decrease in strikeout rate.  One thing I’ll mention on the R/ER thing is that the gap between runs and earned runs doesn’t look right to me.  I don’t know why the data (which I pulled from The Baseball Cube) shows such a discrepancy.  It could be that official scoring in Japan is more liberal with assigning errors, or there may be a data error in the earned runs column.  Because of that, I’d probably focus on RA/FIP instead of ERA.

Then, I just took a 3-2-1 weighted average of Darvish’s 2008-2010 performance and applied those changes in the various component stats.

Darvish, Yu Japan 195 141 43 39 7 46 201 5 0 2.00 1.78 2.33
Darvish, Yu Translated 195 181 68 47 16 46 184 22 1 3.15 2.15 3.10

That’s a #1 starter’s line, but it’s also probably optimistic.  So I figured it’d be interesting to do the same exercise for Daisuke Matsuzaka for the three years prior to his arrival in MLB.

Matsuzaka, Daisuke Japan 189 148 54 48 12 40 197 6 0 2.59 2.29 2.59
Matsuzaka, Daisuke Translated 189 190 86 58 26 41 180 23 0 4.07 2.76 3.76
Matsuzaka, Daisuke Actual MLB 189 173 92 89 19 91 172 7 0 4.39 4.25 4.16

I’ve added a third line here, which is just Matsuzaka’s career MLB performance pro-rated to the 189 innings of his 3-2-1 weighted pre-MLB line.  As you can see, Matsuzaka was obviously not as good as the straight translation would have pegged him.  He’s been somewhere between 0.3 - 0.4 runs per nine worse according to RA/FIP.

So what if I just used the difference between Matsuzaka’s translated line and actual line applied to Darvish’s translated line?

Darvish, Yu Translated* 195 165 74 72 12 104 177 6 0 3.40 3.31 3.78

That still looks pretty solid to me.  It’d almost certainly be the best projection on the Yankees aside from CC Sabathia if he doesn’t leave. 

As far as I know, Darvish has solid MLB stuff.  He’d also be two years younger than Matsuzaka was when he came over.  The concern I’d have would be if his style of pitching is conducive to MLB success.  The big jump in Matsuzaka’s walk rate is an illustration of why that’s a potential problem.  If Darvish’s style is based more on getting batters to swing at bad pitches and less on having good command, he may suffer more in MLB than the raw numbers indicate.  That’s where the scouts come in.

But at least from what this tells me, I’m all aboard the sign Yu Darvish bandwagon.  Since the posting fee won’t count against the luxury tax, and there’s no draft pick compensation to lose if he’s signed, it’s a gamble worth taking in my opinion.

--Posted at 10:58 am by SG / 84 Comments | - (0)


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Awesome stuff, thanks.

When I look at projections like these, I automatically think of the guys who routinely outperform their FIP and guys who routinely underperform their FIP (like Javier Vazquez.) I guess that’s the worry - that there’s something about this skillset that will translate differently. I guess though it would have to be something different than all those other Japanese pitchers.

Wouldn’t it be funny (or sad) if Darvish ended up being really good, and the reason the Yankees (or Red Sox) stayed away was because of their recent experiences?

Also, what about the idea of Darvish signing and going to the minors, a la Aroldis Chapman? He’s young enough where you could think of this as signing a ‘prospect.’

I like the idea of the Yankees signing Darvish and C J Wilson.

SG curious about how well David Robertson could do as a starter?  Do you have a projection for this?

This is one of those situations, I think, where intangible things like “makeup” and “pitchability” come into play and actually might be a big deal.

He’s got the stuff/talent.  He will, however, have to adjust in order to deliver.  Expectations will be high, because no matter which team gets him, he’s going to cost a bundle.

The Yankees need pitching.  If they go out and get this guy, ok, but I’m not chomping at the bit either.

[3] In addition to Sabathia? That would mean they have (in no particular order) Sabathia, Darvish, Wilson, Nova, Burnett, Hughes, maybe Garcia, and then Noesi, Betances, Banuelos. That seems excessive.

Yu/Farid Darvish[sefad] is coming to the States?  Whoa.
From a purely objectifying stance, I’d love to see him do well.

SG curious about how well David Robertson could do as a starter?  Do you have a projection for this?

You could use the ideas in this post to take a stab at it.  According to Tangotiger, what he calls the rule of 17.

Basically, use the “rule of 17”: difference in BABIP is 17 points higher as starter.  K/PA is 17% higher as reliever.  And HR per contacted PA is 17% higher as starter.  Walk rate is FLAT.

So first you have to try and do a projection on Robertson, because he’s probably not as good as his raw stats were in 2011.  Over his career he’s actually now pitched 202 innings, so his career line could almost look like a starter’s line.  In that case,

202 IP, 164 H, 72 R, 68 ER, 13 HR, 91 BB, 270 K converts to
202 IP, 192 H, 85 R, 80 ER, 15 HR, 91 BB, 230 K.

RA of 3.78, ERA of 3.56, FIP of 3.24.

The problem is that Robertson hasn’t started a game since high school, and that he isn’t very efficient in terms of pitches per PA.  He was at 4.46 pitches per PA last year and 4.39 P/PA career.  If you assume the average starting pitcher faces 27 hitters in a game, then Robertson would need around 120 pitches per start.  The only pitcher who made 20 starts last year and needed more than 4.12 P/PA was J.A. Happ, and he was almost certainly the worst pitcher in baseball.

Add in the fact that he’ll lose a few MPH on the fastball and I don’t see how it would work.  Plus we know how much the Yankees value 8th inning guys and 7th inning guys.

I guess he’ll just have to settle for being the heir to Mo.

Most of the reports on Darvish have him as having a bit better stuff than Matsuzaka. He also has a height advantage: 6’5” vs 6"0.’

I’m for posting for Darvish. But, I’m also not a huge fan of Wilson.

I like the idea that they could probably sign Darvish for 8-10 million as opposed to the ~18 million Wilson will get.

[8] Well, here’s where I see some issues are.  For one, when would the posting process occur?  IOW, before or after Wilson would potentially sign?  If it’s after - and the Yankees decide they need a starter they aren’t trading for, which I assume is true - then they pretty much have to go after Wilson, don’t they?  Or be willing to put in a ridiculous bid, unless the process has changed.  I believe it is still blind, sealed bids, right?

Because that’s the problem - Yankees could bid $60M (above Dice-K, well above what is sane, IMHO), and STILL lose.  If you’ve already lost out on Wilson, now they’ve got nothing, and are either hoping for a repeat of last season’s luck, OR making a trade maybe you don’t want to make.  Or now they’ve forced themselves to do a blow-away bid ($80M?), which potentially could have financial ramifications we don’t see.

If of course the posting happens early enough, they can make their play, and if they miss out still pursue Wilson.  They *could* get both, but as J points out, that is likely overkill.

EDIT: I guess that’s only one issue.  I have others but would be writing a book.

[9] Im not saying Darvish in lieu of Wilson. I’d just prefer to not sign Wilson in general. Also, I’m betting he stays in Texas.

I’m in.  He’s 25.  You don’t get a chance to sign potential front end starters at age 25 too often.

I would be shocked if the bid for Darvish goes over 30 million, unless he is being valued much higher than Matsuzaka was.

How long a leash do you think Burnett has in 2012?  Let’s say it’s July and his ERA is again over 5 and the Yankees have 4 decent starters (dubious) and someone’s pitching lights-out in AAA, do the Yankees finally move to get him out of the rotation?

He also has a height advantage: 6’5” vs 6"0.’

This could work either way.  Is part of his past success based on being unusually tall for his league?  He won’t have that advantage in the MLB.

Edit: Re-reading Clay’s post, I see that the point is that Dice-K is only 6 inches tall, and thus Darvish, at over 6 feet, should be 10 times better.  My point stands.

Yeah, I don’t see how Darvish’s posting fee could get higher than Matsuzaka. Matsuzaka had sooooooooo much hype coming his way when he was posted. And then he was a major disappointment (not a bad pitcher, just a major disappointment). So I don’t see Darvish’s posting fee being 20% HIGHER than Matsuzaka’s. I think the Yankees can win the posting auction with ease if they so choose (by “with ease,” I mean with a bid less than Matsuzaka’s but comfortably ahead of all the other teams).

I would be shocked if the bid for Darvish goes over 30 million, unless he is being valued much higher than Matsuzaka was.

Igawa went for what, $20M?  I was thinking something around $40M with an outside chance at exceeding Matsuzaka’s posting bid, because there’s no harm in making a high bid.  If you don’t sign him, you don’t lose a penny.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see a team like Boston make the dick move of offering a lot of money with no intent of signing him merely to keep him away from the Yankees.

How long a leash do you think Burnett has in 2012?

Think Moose 2007.  He’ll be moved to the bullpen on August 27 for one game, then be returned to the rotation.

I think the Yankees will pull him out of the rotation as soon as they’re certain they have five better options.  I just don’t know how likely that is to happen in 2012.

[15] I think 30-35 million will be enough to win the bid.

On another subject, SG, where do you get your raw data from for players?

Be interesting to see how Irabu and Igawa would have looked as a control group.

Igawa went for what, $20M?  I was thinking something around $40M with an outside chance at exceeding Matsuzaka’s posting bid, because there’s no harm in making a high bid.

I think that Igawa and Matsuzaka were the high points for the posting process for a while. Both of them have failed to meet expectations and been massive wastes of money.

I guess I could see the posting fee for Darvish approach the price for Matsuzaka, but I think it will likely be significantly lower. Uehara wasn’t even posted (since he expressed interest in being posted, it could be because his NPB team did not think the return would be great enough) and isn’t making all that much. He’s arguably been better than Matsuzaka (he’s certainly been impressive as a reliever).

On another subject, SG, where do you get your raw data from for players?

Depends.  For past MLB data I just use a MySQL database with data from the Baseball Databank and Retrosheet, as well as Baseball Reference’s play index. 

For minor league/international data I use the Baseball Cube.  For current season I’ll look wherever, usually Fangraphs or Baseball Reference.  CNNSI is the only place that tracks standard zone rating so I get that from there.

My guess is that the Yankees, gun-shy after the Igawa debacle, pass.

You know I remember when it was a foregone conclusion that the Yankees would win the Dice-K bid.  IIRC at the time the thinking was a “fair” bid was going to be around $25 million, and the Yankees might decide to blow the bidding out of the water with $30M.  They bid over that - $33M I believe - and TWO teams beat them (Mets who blew the Yankees out of the water, Red Sox decided for the nuclear option).

I agree, Darvish will probably go somewhere in between $30-40M.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it is much, much higher.  The hype is starting to build on him, and who knows if there is a team - potentially with a new GM and flush with cash - that wants to make a splash?  So that’s just it - the Yankees *could* win with ease.  But this isn’t a matter of taking the highest bid and beating it be $1.  It’s a matter of *guessing* the highest bid, and THEN beating that by $1.

Never say, “no one will” in baseball.  No one will pay $50 for Dice-K, no one will give ARod $25M a year (this is talking about Texas), etc, etc.  You can always say, “yeah but that was unique”...until the next unique situation comes along.

[21] I would hope that the Yankees would be smart enough not to let 1-2 bad signings/trades stop them from utilizing a valuable resource. Passing on Darvish because Igawa was a bust is like passing on Josh Johnson because Javy was terrible as a Yankee.

[21] I would hope that the Yankees would be smart enough not to let 1-2 bad signings/trades stop them from utilizing a valuable resource.

Hasn’t stopped them from signing LHP to throw off flat ground.

Hasn’t stopped them from signing LHP to throw off flat ground.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure we won the flat ground World Series. Or maybe we got knocked out but never allowed a hit to a LHB.

Who will be this year’s LHRP signing?

I think I’m leaning towards the camp that wants Wilson and Darvish.

But with Betances and Banuelos in AAA, along with decent arms such as Warren and Phelps that could be future Nova-esque 3-5 pitchers in the rotation, is it worth it to spend the $150-$200mil that will it will probably take to get both pitchers?

Which risk/reward is better? Spending a ton for proven (well, not in Yu’s case) pitching, or going cheap, but relying on still developing, young pitchers on a win-now team?

Who will be this year’s LHRP signing?

I’m thinking George Sherrill and/or Mike Gonzalez.

[11] Someone may have mentioned it, but he’s actually just finished his age 23 season.

Also - maybe someone asked this but - seems like the two biggest things to overcome are (1) Japanese pitcher pitch once every 7 days, not once every 5 and (2) the ball in Japan is a different size (smaller). I know (1) is true, but is (2) true? Can’t remember where I read it.

[28] Yes they do use a slightly smaller ball. It has caused issues with Japanese pitchers, usually with the consistency of their breaking balls.

(23) Statistically, Japanese pitching prospects are due for a non-bust. Go all in.

SG:  Would it make sense to separate out NL vs. AL seasons rather than looking at an aggregated MLB line for Japanese pitchers?  Seems to me there is (or has been recently) a pretty significant difference in the ERA/RA/FIP of NL and AL pitchers.  I would EXPECT the data to show that Japanese pitchers who pitch in the NL come closer to matching their Japanese-team stats than those who come here and pitch in the AL (Dice-Meh, for example).

I can’t believe Mike Gonzalez is pitching meaningful innings (well, single batters, but still) in a playoff game this year.

SG with respect to my question on Robertson how many pitches would he need to give 6 innings?  If CJ Wilson could convert to the rotation with success I hope the Yankees give David a shot.  I know Wilson was a starter in the minors.

Also how would Corey Luebke and Chase Headley project as Yankees?  I think those 2 would make for a very nice trade…a very expensive trade but good long term for the Yankees.

Takashi Saito has adapted pretty well to MLB, but there was no posting fee for him and he came over at age 35 or so, so I don’t know if he’s a valid data point.

Wait, he’s pitching for the Brewers now?  Life can take you strange places…

[34] Kuroda has also been pretty good since making the jump to the MLB, although he does play in the NL for the Dodgers.


Anyone enjoying the Classiest Organization in Baseball (COB) eating their own young in the Boston Globe? The ownership knows they’re going to have to field this team next year, right?

SG:  Would it make sense to separate out NL vs. AL seasons rather than looking at an aggregated MLB line for Japanese pitchers?

Sure.  And it would make sense to adjust for the parks they pitched in in both leagues, and to adjust for the defenses behind them, and to adjust for their age. It’s just more work than I felt like doing for something that I think is somewhat limited in how much it can tell us.

The split of innings in the matched sample of innings is 2841 NL/ 2821 AL.  So figure you can add something like .3 runs per nine to the overall average to put it in terms of AL.  The same pitcher will have an ERA about 0.5 runs per nine lower in the NL compared to the AL.

SG with respect to my question on Robertson how many pitches would he need to give 6 innings?

Like I said, for Robertson 27 batters = 120 pitches.  Figure over 6 innings, he’d get 18 hitters out and allow something like 5 hits and 3 walks, so maybe he’d face 26 hitters over six innings most of the time.  So maybe 115 pitches or so.  Doesn’t seem like it’ll work unless he cuts those walks down.

Also how would Corey Luebke and Chase Headley project as Yankees?

Sorry, I’m not doing projections now.  Ask again in December.

[36] There’s a systematic bus that everyone’s trying to throw everyone else under.  It’s all over the metro.  This is why I mentioned drinking in the clubhouse a few threads ago.

[36]  This is the best Christmas ever!

[36. 39] I can’t see anything behind their paywall. Please to point me to a link that is most demoralizing to Townie Faithful.
Tino smear victim

[41] Thanks.

I liked this part best:

Red Sox starters’ ERA of 7.08 in September—almost a full run higher than the next worst starters’ ERA in the league (6.09, Orioles)

Eh, so you’re saying that the worst collaps came against the only team in the fucking league that had worse pitching than you ? I mean, it would be bad enough to collapse in the face of good, or even middling teams. But to lose what, 6 of 8 to the only team worse than you…that’s…well…

I think that’s the wrost thing I’ve ever heard.

Are we supposed to be rooting for the Cards or Brewers ?

Myself, it comes down to hate-by-association. On the first corner, there is Tony LaRussa, who is a Douchebag Of The First Order. In the other corner, is Bud Selig’s Brewers, who…well…have the taint of Douchery in proportions that could only be described as “Heroic”. Which is impressive, giving that it all stems from one man.

Go Cards !!

Edit: Also, hatwear made of <a href=“”>cheezy commestibles</a< are off-putting.

Edit Edit: is, not are.

Pin, try this.  You’ll probably want to wash your brain afterwards.

[40] Here’s the Globe article on Bos-town’s epic collapse.

Tigers lose a one run and two xtras to Texas but beat us twice in 1 run games and once in a two run game.  Cant predict baseball.

Papi wants to come to the Yankees. Can they give him 50k a year to follow Cano around with a giant mirror and tell him how great he is, like Morris Day in Purple Rain?

Will he share his juice?

Turns out Aceves was one of the few Sox that gave a damn. Hey Cashman remember when you let him go for nothing?

I rooted for Boggs, even Clemens, Ortiz would be a tough sell however.

Enjoy the Schadenfreude while you can. Everything will change, you’ll see. Josh Beckett will come to camp looking CUT.

It really just is wonderful when you think about everything that happened and the exact way they were eliminated. One of the greatest things I’ve ever heard.

I enjoy Jose Valverde finally getting smacked around.

[44] their habit of drinking beer, eating fast-food fried chicken, and playing video games in the clubhouse

Sounds like a drunkblog.

SSF, do you think that it really matters how cut he looks, or whether he drinks beer in the clubhouse, when he put up 193 IP at 2.89 ERA?  Do you think Wakefield should be thrown under the bus for wanting to win more games for Boston for peanuts next year?  That A-Gon shouldn’t comment on the pressure of playing for a championship-caliber team in big media market?  Most of that coverage sounds like everyone pointing fingers at everyone else, when (so I would think) the real story is the team caught some bad breaks and play in an extraordinarily tough division.  (Ok, I can see blaming Youkilis for alienating Ellsbury last year and getting hoist on his own petard.)

I enjoy Jose Valverde finally getting smacked around.

Means nothing.  He’s still perfect in save situations.

Is there anything like pitch f/x in Japan?  My theory WRT Matsuzaka has always been that the strike zone is a lot bigger.

Schaden.  Freude.

“It’s back to the bad old days over on Yawkey Way. The Red Sox of 2011 are the Red Sox of Buddy LeRoux and Haywood Sullivan - doofus co-owners wrestling on the carpet of their Fenway Park offices back in 1983. They are the Red Sox of Tom Yawkey and his chorus line of drunken employees finishing out of the money from the 1930s through the ’60s.

There are so many things wrong with the Sox at this hour, it’s difficult to know where to start. The manager is gone, the general manager is gone, the owners are in hiding, and the players are a loathsome lot totally unworthy of the money and adulation they receive.

Theo Epstein’s gone. It was a seismic event when he quit in 2005. This time, his departure is lost in the mix as the Sox go from freefall to nuclear fallout. The Fenway lawn is scorched earth.

Did we ever think the vaunted “new’’ owners would make Frank McCourt look good?

Apologies are in order, all around. John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino need to come out of hiding and say they are sorry for this embarrassment.

Ditto for the cowardly ballplayers. Instead of blasting a reporter (“where’d you get this number?’’), phony captain Jason Varitek needs to explain how the ballplayers in the clubhouse abandoned their professionalism on his watch. Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and John Lackey need to drop the bad-ass act (none of them returned calls from Bob Hohler before his explosive story in Wednesday’s Globe) and apologize to fans for their disrespect of the manager and the franchise. Put down the long-necks and the Double Down sandwiches and tell the fans you are sorry.

But why would they? They are joyless and enabled. We learn from Hohler’s story that when players complained about having to play a day-night doubleheader, out-of-touch Sox owners gave them $300 headphones and a night on Henry’s yacht.


The worst collapse in the history of baseball wasn’t enough shame for this crew. They had to take on the persona of entitled rock stars who flip off the fans and demand only red M&Ms; in their dressing room.”

Freuden.  Schade.

“With their team in peril and their manager losing his authority, three Red Sox pitchers last month were uniquely positioned to prevent the greatest September collapse in major league history. All the Sox needed was Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey to apply the skills and commitment that previously made them World Series champions.

Instead, Boston’s three elite starters went soft, their pitching as anemic as their work ethic. The indifference of Beckett, Lester, and Lackey in a time of crisis can be seen in what team sources say became their habit of drinking beer, eating fast-food fried chicken, and playing video games in the clubhouse during games while their teammates tried to salvage a once-promising season.”

I think the real collapse is the one happening now, after the season. Losing the wild card this year was a combination of injuries and untimely bad play, and it could have happened to any club. Because the culture needs to assign blame in proportion to the disappointment, the reaction is going to be much more damaging to the franchise than the event itself.

And I’m totally on board with Darvish. Because this a Darvish thread, not a Red Sox thread. I like that he’s MLB size pitcher physically, and I think that will make a difference.

While I am still enjoying watching the Red Sox mess, I am pretty disgusted with the smear job they’re doing on Francona. They won 2 championships with the dude in 3 years and this is how they repay him?

And count me in for the Darvish bandwagon. Until he loses a game in MLB, at which point he will clearly become a bust and yet another colossal mistake for the Yankees.

[50] I’d root for Ortiz the minute he put the pinstripes on.  At least if/until he started acting like Randy Johnson in pinstripes anyway.  I just don’t see a need for him, unless they plan on starting Montero at C in 100+ games next year (and maybe 40 more at DH).  Which is certainly possible, but unlikely.  Also, RAB has a post discussing the payroll, and Mike A comes up with the Yankees having about $25M to play with this off-season (before resigning CC).  I posited it’s probably closer to $30M, but unless they start to climb well ahead of previous payroll levels, they can’t afford Ortiz AND CC AND another starter.  So signing Ortiz makes no sense at this point.

[59 & others] Neyer has a post about this stuff.  I think it’s more than just injuries/bad luck that played a role in their losing.  There were some roster constructions issues I think, that weren’t fully exposed due to the offseason moves.  Also, there probably were real issues with leadership (players and management), players laying down, etc.  As Neyer writes, isn’t it possible that these things cost the team a win or two down the stretch?  I think it is, so sure, some blame should go around for these types of things.  It’s not like the Yankees didn’t have their share of injuries (ARod, Martin missed some time, Garcia, half the bullpen, Hughes) or bad luck (record in 1 run games) after all.

However, the type and level of smear that I’ve read - and I’m trying not to immerse myself in it - is ridiculous.  Fortunately the current incarnation of the Yankees doesn’t seem to do that kind of stuff; for example, they let Torre embaress himself with his book.  The 1970’s-1980’s (and a little in the late 90’s) Yankees would do this kind of thing…

[64] On Darvish…here’s my position FWIW:

1) I don’t think the Yankees should sign BOTH Darvish and another FA (I like Wilson but they could get others to shore up the middle of the rotation).  CC, Hughes, and Nova should be in the rotation next year, and I don’t think AJ won’t be (start of year at least).  If they get two more starters, you’re either removing Hughes from the rotation (I think bad idea, need at least one more year to see what he can do), or removing Nova (also bad idea).  If signing both means AJ in pen that’s different…

2) If the posting process comes *before* the bigger name FA (okay, basically Wilson) are likely to sign, then yes, I want the Yankees to put in a strong bid and try to acquire him.  If they get him fine, they’re done.  If not, plan B becomes Wilson/other FA.

3) If the process is after Wilson is likely to sign, I’d rather they go hard after Wilson.  Yes there’s some uncertainty, but I don’t think any more than there is with Yu.  He’s a lefty (good in DNYS), he’ll probably age better than AJ, and though he’ll be an overpay, the Yankees are a team that can afford an overpay.

4) If you just put the two - Darvish and Wilson - up next to each other, I’d rather Wilson.  I think there’s too much uncertainty with projecting Japanese players coming over to America.  The stats don’t always translate, the scouting is imprecise, then there’s a whole culture issue which I think is near impossible to guess how it will affect an individual.  I would still do what I say in (2) because he’s young, he has a shot to be a rare Japanese success, and due to the process they need to take the shot at getting him so they don’t get shut out of Wilson later and get no one.

[50] When it’s gotten to the point where Ortiz says “‘It’s great from what I hear,’ Ortiz said of the Yankees. ‘It’s a good situation to be involved in. Who doesn’t want to be involved in a great situation where everything goes the right way?’” something is seriously messed up.  I’m not sure what, though.

I just don’t see a need for him

He could put up a kissing booth in the great hall…

Anyway, enough of the Sox. We’ll upset SSF.

Back on topic: What’s this pitcher’s name ?

When Igawa got sent down originally, did he have to clear waivers?  Would Darvish have option years?  If so, I would be completely on board with signing both Wilson and Darvish.  It depends on the cost for Wilson, but having CC, CJ, Nover, Hughes, and AJ (::shudder::) to start the year is not a bad idea at all.

Worst case, as many have stated, someone starts in AAA or the bullpen as the long man (I’m looking at you AJ) and Darvish takes a spot.  Or maybe you start Darvish in the bullpen to get him accustomed to MLB? 

Either way, I fully support signing David Ortiz to be the team mascot.  I think it would guarantee a WS ring a la Johnny Damon.  Get it done, Ca$h!

I fully support signing David Ortiz to be the team mascot.

Varitek is available too, no ?

I smell Dunk Tank in the Great Hall !

Varitek is available too, no ?

Can Varitek be the water-cooler?  If so, we DEFINITELY need someone like O’Neill on this team!

Hey SG, I know you don’t want do start on projections yet.  But (to me at least) the obvious counter-point to “should the Yankees pursue Darvish” is, “should the Yankees pursue CJ Wilson”.  I did some back-of-the-envelope math and had Wilson as a 5/90 contract being fair market value for him.  And I think if the Yankees can get a #2 type pitcher for fair market value, they definitely should.

. They won 2 championships with the dude in 3 years and this is how they repay him?

It was actually two World Series in four years, not three.  If they had won in ‘04 and ‘06 (instead of ‘07) it would not be two in two years.  Nor would winning in ‘04 and ‘05 be two in….one year.

I was told there would be no math :(

I thought I read somwhere that Wilson wants to stay in Texas.

[72] I recall this too, although it may have been you saying it. He does seem to really like Texas though. And Texas is willing to spend some money. I would be surprised to see him leave.

Those comments from Ortiz are amazing.  You’d think he’d look at the team in question’s roster construction before making them, though.

But (to me at least) the obvious counter-point to “should the Yankees pursue Darvish” is, “should the Yankees pursue CJ Wilson”

I’m not sure they’ll get the opportunity.  If the Rangers get to the World Series again this year, that’s two years in a row as the AL pennant winner and he’ll understandably feel his best chance of winning a World Series is with them.  Texas may end up offering him enough that he doesn’t even get to free agency.

I have no concerns about how good Wilson is.  I just don’t know he’ll be there.

[75] I think he’d be crazy not to go on the market at this point.  If nothing else to establish his value.  And once he’s on the market of course anything can happen.

[55] I personally buy into the idea that clibhouse culture affects winning. And that Wakefield sucks.

I enjoy Jose Valverde finally getting smacked around.

I really ain’t enjoying it. Yankees suck.

Buster_ESPN Buster Olney
Just talked to agent (not Boras)about Wilson FA. Says with a really bad October could get 5/60-65m. With a good Oct., 5-6/$85-100m.

Skeptical one postseason could have that much impact, though I guess Wilson has a pretty small starting sample compared to typical FAs.  If he can be had for under $15M a year he’s a no-brainer, and they could maybe get Darvish too.

EDIT: and now Wilson has given up 6R today!  Can the Yankees lock him up right now?

When Igawa got sent down originally, did he have to clear waivers?  Would Darvish have option years?

Darvish would have options, just like any other player.  Every player gets three option years when they are first added to a team’s 40-man roster.  An option year is used when a player on a 40-man roster spends more than 20 days on the active roster of a minor league affiliate.  Igawa had to clear waivers because the Yankees wanted to take him off their 40-man roster.  If you want to get technical, that’s called an outright assignment (as opposed to an optional assignment).  In addition to freeing up a roster spot, this move famously saved the Yankees from paying luxury tax on Igawa’s contract (savings which happen to be just about enough to sign the odd Freddie Garcia in a given year).

FWIW, it looks like Igawa has used up two of his option years (in 2007 and 2008).  Looks like he was out-righted to the minors during spring training in 2009.  If he ever were to make it back to the majors (with any team) he’d still have one option left.

[81] Could be wrong, but I *think* a player could work a clause into their contract to prevent the team from assigning them to the minors.  I feel like some import - Japan or Cuba - did that within the last 10 or 15 years.  Could be my faulty memory though.

[82] - Matsui had in his contract that the Yankees couldn’t offer him arbitration after his first 4 year deal.  Is that what you are thinking of?

[83] Quite possibly, yes.  I was thinking Matsui for some reason so that would make sense.

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