Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Yankees right not to go crazy on Yu Darvish

I’m not at all upset about the New York Yankees losing out on Japanese phenom Yu Darvish.

Even though the Yankees could use some help in the starting rotation, I remain skittish about bringing a pitcher over from the Japanese leagues and expecting him to be a key member of a big-league starting staff. It’s impossible to know how his stuff will translate to a big-league mound and how he will adapt to living in the US. Unlike with minor leaguers or kids in high school and college, there are limited opportunities for a team like the Yankees to personally evaluate these pitchers. And we all know the Yankees have been burned before by Japanese pitchers that have not lived up to the hype, aka, Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa.

I don’t blame the Yankees for being skittish either. If there was a lot less money at stake, the Yankees could afford to take a chance on Darvish, who could have huge upside potential. But with the Yankees’ desire to get their bloated payroll under control before the new collective bargaining agreement’s penalties kick in, the Yankees are going to be extremely careful not to dive into another costly, long-term contract mistake.

The Texas Rangers obviously had no such hesitancy and plenty of dough to spend with their new television deal. It’s a good move for a team that just lost its ace to its division rivals and wanted to make a major countermove. But they have to pray that Darvish is as good as advertised. Otherwise, his contract, if the Rangers are able to sign him, will suffocate them for the next few years.

Regardless, I think the Yankees were right not to go crazy bidding on Yu Darvish. As of now, Brian Cashman & Co may have to be content trying to find the next Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon. That worked out pretty well for them in 2011. No reason they can’t try to catch lightning in a bottle twice.

Thanks to Neier via Wikipedia for the Yu Darvish photo.

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