New York Yankees Hot Stove: Why Yu Do Not Belong In The Bronx New York Yankees Hot Stove: Why Yu Do Not Belong In The Bronx New York Yankees Hot Stove: Why Yu Do Not Belong In The Bronx

New York Yankees Hot Stove: Why Yu Do Not Belong In The Bronx

Yu Darvish begins his pitch.

Japan pitcher Yu Darvish. Image via Wikipedia

The rumor mill is buzzing about the New York Yankees growing interest in signing Japan’s latest pitching phenom named Yu Darvish.

My guess, or hope is that the truth behind these rumors is more media driven than Yankee; and here are four reasons why:

1) When an MLB team wants to acquire a Nippon Pro Baseball player before even negotiating the individual’s salary, the MLB team has to pay a posting fee just for the exclusive right to talk a deal in the first place. The posting fees are not made public so if there are multiple MLB team’s involved, nobody knows. As expected the player’s rights always go to the highest bidder. If that team fails to work out a contract with that NPB player, the posting fee is returned and so forth; the process starts again.

When the Boston Red Sox were interested in Dice-K, MLB Trade Rumors said the posting fee was $51.1 million dollars just to talk to him. The Red Sox paid Dice-K $52 million for six years, bring the total to $103 million bucks, and look how that has turned out.

Since Darvish is better than Dice-K, he will cost a small fortune, which is not worth the risk even for a rich team like the Yankees.

2) Hal Steinbrenner told the NY Daily News about whether the past would play a part in the Yankees pursuit of Yu Darvish:

“Every person is different; every player is different. We’re going to look at every single one. We’re going to look at every single option, and we’re going to analyze it. It will be a go or no-go, but we look at each person as an individual.”

Well, I would find it almost impossible to discount the past, especially when two of the Yankees worst signings were Japanese pitching imports Kei Igawa and Hideki Irabu. Igawa is making $20 million and plays in Triple A Scranton-Wilkes Barre, but then add a $26 million posting fee and that makes a Igawa a $46 million dollar bust.

Igawa went 2-3 with a 6.66 ERA in his 13 starts in the Bronx. The Igawa acquisition is highly regarded as one of GM Brian Cashman’s worst deals ever.

3) Looking at the bigger picture, Japanese pitchers can’t handle the overall workload in MLB. In Japan’s NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) pitchers throw way less innings due to playing 18 fewer games in their regular season, and using a six-man pitching rotation.

4) Compared to MLB, Japan’s NPB uses smaller balls; enjoy a wider strike zone and have much softer mounds. These minor differences can throw a baseball player completely out of whack, which means a readjustment period that has no guarantee to work.

Many argue that Darvish has better numbers than past Japanese pitchers. This is true but coming to play in New York is a whole different monster. Fans are not forgiving at all, especially to the higher paid players who are expected to excel all the time; a main reason Hideki Matsui was so loved as a Yankee.

The Yankees don’t need to spend money on a pitcher with no MLB experience; and who can’t speak English. The Yankees could very-well end up with a Dice-K or Igawa situation and be hog-tied by some outlandish contract.

There is no question that it makes more sense to pay CJ Wilson, Mark Buehrle or Edwin Jackson for the simple reason that they pose less risk.

The Yankees seem to be a little wiser these days and for that reputation to stay that means…. no Yu Darvish, no way, no how, not ever.


  1. Tanned Tom says:

    Excellent point about the size of the baseball. Japanes baseball is 4A level, their absolute best players make it here (Suzuki, Matsui) the rest are just scrubs or divas (Matzusaka). Let some other team make the huge bet that working once every 5 days with a bigger ball, against much better hitters, will work out. Pass.

    • LLP says:

      Tom….finally we agree!!! I think it is a HUGE mistake to bring Darvish to NYC. I think the Yankee brass is very aware of this too!!! Let's hope WIlson can get his head out of the clouds, regarding his worth and that the Yankees can sign him; or even Edwin Jackson for the middle of the rotation is a lot less risky than the possibility of another Igawa on our hands.

  2. Richard Griffith says:

    "The Yankees don’t need to spend money on a pitcher with no MLB experience; and who can’t speak English. "

    You should tread very carefully. Baseball is a Universal language in of itself and many successful MLB players have initially needed translators ( Hideki Matsui). Stick to what you know!!

    ps. Try proof reading your posts before you Send them.

    • LLP says:

      Richard I apologize if I offended you in anyway because by no means was that about baseball being universal, as it was more about communication issues with Japanese pitchers as they are very st in their ways. Example is Dice-K and not training or doing what was asked of him in Boston. Japanese hitters in genreal do not struggle like pitchers. Position players, like Matsui and Ichiro do not have to deal with the same circumstances and that is a fact. Some of the best players in baseball history are from the Dominican and South America, but are familiar with MLB even if they need a translator. Japanese pitchers lack that experience, and remember that Japanese is a lot harder than Spanish.

      About proof reading my posts…obviously, I have no editor and I do appreciate the constructive criticism and I will try to do better

  3. Richard Griffith says:

    The Dice-K issue had more to do with innings pitched and the type of training he was used to vs Not Training. You can Google that. Language, customs, individual idiosyncrasies/American superstitions (Wade Boggs) have little correlation with the ability to play this game we love. I find it best to stick with facts ( smaller ball parks, varying strike zones, larger foul ball territory and even slightly smaller baseballs. Keep up the good work.

    • LLP says:

      Thank you Richard for your opinion….but when all the basics differ like they do in this case, any other barriers certainly do not help the process go smoother. So, I disagree with you because culture shock is tough to deal with. Coming from Japan to the USA is a significant transition in general. Then add the fact that baseball is not the same and that can be overwhelming.

      I did make a point in the article that Japanese pitchers throw less innings because they play less games and use a six-man rotation. Overall, there are a slew of reasons that do not make signing Darvish a good idea at all.

      • Richard Griffith says:

        You never mentioned cultural shock until now. Does it play a role for some players? Sure. Don't you think GM's look at a player's mental make-up before they spend 100 million on them.? Of course they do. Read this article on Igawa. I agree that Darvish is a wild card. But you can't deny that many baseball guru's think his stuff will tranlate to MLB. Time will tell.

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