The bidding for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish will be steep. That is about the only thing that is certain when it comes to Darvish and his situation. No one is quite sure when he will come to the United States or who he will play for, but there will be a lot of interest, and he will certainly cash in. The Nats are, of course, one of the teams interested.
The Nats have made no secret of the fact that they are going to go after the best players they can, and they are willing to pay. Darvish has been on their radar for years. Via Adam Kilgore at The Washington Post:
“We scout every player that we have interest in,” Rizzo said. “Yu Darvish specifically is a player that has a great talent level. We’ve scouted him over the years. I’ve scouted him personally over the years. Our pro scouts have scouted him this year specifically. We’re open to acquire talent in any way, shape or form that we can. If it’s international talent, we’re certainly willing to acquire international players.”
Darvish, 26, could be the most talented pitcher in the world not currently employed by a major league team. In six years in Nippon Professional Baseball, Japan’s highest league, Darvish has compiled a 2.12 ERA in 1,036 1/3 innings, striking out almost as many hitters (974) as he allowed on base (297 walks, 760 hits).
The process for Darvish coming to the MLB may be costly. Once his team in Japan releases him, Darvish will receive bids from all interested teams (which is, like, everyone). The team with the highest bid then wins the rights to negotiate a contract with Darvish. Estimations are universally held that the team who lands Darvish will be paying at least $100 million.
With the young talent already on the pitching staff in Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann (not to mention prospects Tom Milone and Brad Peacock) the Nats may not be willing to commit that kind of money to an outsider. They will have to re-sign Zimmermann and Strasburg in the next few years, and they will garner heavy paychecks.
That being said, if the Nationals could somehow land Darvish, they will have fully transformed their weakest position into their strongest within the span of just a few years. Impressive work from Rizzo, who continues to be aggressive in his pursuit of turning around the organization.