Yu Darvish: an expensive conversation

The Texas Rangers own the rights to exclusively negotiate a contract with highly coveted Japanese pitcher, Yu Darvish. If the Rangers and Darvish cannot reach an agreement, Darvish must return to the Nippon-Ham Fighters, a Japanese professional baseball team.

Japanese players are allowed to crumple up their existing contracts and come to the MLB under the posting system, which works as follows, using Darvish as an example.

Darvish enters a silent auction. Any team from the MLB can bid on the rights to talk with Darvish, and in this case, the Rangers were the highest bidder. So the Rangers were rewarded 30 days to hammer out a deal with the pitcher, which runs up on January 18th. If the two sides come to an agreement, the Rangers will have to pay Darvish’s old team the amount they bid during the auction. If a contract is not formed, Darvish must return to the Fighters.

This is system is reasonable. The amount of money the Texas Rangers bid on Darvish is not.

The Rangers won the rights to negotiate, but it cost them $51.7 million dollars. Now let me make this clear: that is what it cost Texas just to talk with the guy, that is of course, if a contract is signed.

When you factor in the projected deal that the Rangers are willing to offer which will be somewhere around $50 million, one just hopes that this pitcher is worth it.

Honestly, I find this all absurd. No one in the world is worth $52 million to talk to. If you are going to give up money to negotiate, at least be within reason. Ichiro Suzuki, a future Hall of Famer and perhaps the most consistent player of this generation, was also acquired in the posting system. The Seattle Mariners won the bidding, and it only cost them $13.13 million. Now that is money well spent.

This type of overspending is not unprecedented. The Boston Red Sox offered $51.11 million for the rights to the ultra-hyped Daisuke Matsuzaka. Do you think the Sox regret that? He has a career 4.25 ERA.

I would think that the Texas Rangers learned a lesson from the Matsuzaka fallout, but apparently they feel Darvish will pay off in a big way. For the Rangers’ sake, I hope he does pan out. But then again, if you are careless enough to throw out that kind of money just to get some one-on-one time with an athlete, maybe you don’t deserve to have Darvish succeed.

Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers have not come to an agreement and are still talking. Or perhaps the Rangers are just drawing the negotiation process out as long as they can. You know, getting their money’s worth.

  • Joe

    1. They are paying to exclusively negotiate with AND sign Darvish. If he doesn’t sign with the Rangers he goes back to Japan and the money goes back to Texas.

    2. Money paid in the posting process does not go toward MLB luxury tax threshold which is huge for a team like the Rangers.

    3. Ichiro was about 10 or 11 years ago, prices go up. Also Dice-K and Darvish are not the same player. Dice-K was older when he posted and in his 2 best years put up numbers somewhat comparable to Darvish past 5 years.

    Its an expensive gamble, but considering how much stud pitching goes for on the free agent market anyway and that half the projected 100 mil in cost isn’t attributed to the luxury tax it is a worthwhile gamble.

  • Ben

    whats are you talking about NWDC. if you want to comment on this situation, at least know the posting process. money is paid to the team to talk to darvish.

    • NWDC

      I know the posting process well. Yes it is paid to the team but like I said it is essentially a payment to allow Darvish to break his current contract (and 2 year commitment to the Japanese leagues). If they want to sign him, they have to pay $51m — to the team. It’s like a signing bonus. I find it odd that there is $51m in value in getting him to break the contract though. It’s only two more years, that’s $25m/yr. Darvish is functionally giving up $51 million in his own market value by signing — he gets certainty (he could get injured or decline) and he gets to the US earlier.

  • http://twitter.com/DupontCircleDC DC

    They’re not paying $51 million to “talk” to him, they’re paying that to break his contract in the Japanese league. Think of it like a signing bonus.