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Prepare for a Darvish bidding war

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08:14 AM ET 12.08 | Let the bidding begin. Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish ended the speculation and only heightended the anticipation when he announced he wants to pitch in the major leagues next season. The 25-year-old right-handed star of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters requested that he be posted, which would inject a prize talent into this winter's market. Assuming the Fighters agree to the posting, which they are expected to do, major league teams could then submit sealed bids for the right to negotiate with Darvish. ... "He's one of the best," says new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who managed against Darvish in Japan. "If you asked, 'Who are the four best pitchers in baseball?' you'd have to talk about him."

USA Today

Yu Darvish, Getty Images Yu Darvish, Getty Images
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December 8, 2011  08:31 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

I don't know why teams are so hot and bothered over these Asian pitchers. I haven't seen a great one yet.

He's only half Japanese, on his mother's side, so maybe he has half a chance.

December 8, 2011  08:36 AM ET

.....red sox hired bobby v mainly to load up on japanese all stars....starting with darvish...

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December 8, 2011  09:26 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

I don't know why teams are so hot and bothered over these Asian pitchers. I haven't seen a great one yet.

Decent pitching is hard to come by. It's not just Asian pitchers, any pitcher that might be decent will get attention.

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December 8, 2011  09:35 AM ET

He's great here but just like Matsuzaka, after two years he'll be done. Hope Boston or Philly overbids for him.

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December 8, 2011  09:36 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

I don't know why teams are so hot and bothered over these Asian pitchers. I haven't seen a great one yet.

Asian pitchers = more hot Asian women in the stands

Who wouldn't like that?

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December 8, 2011  09:45 AM ET
QUOTE(#9):

And thus my continued assertion - the league is watered down due to the number of teams......

I think there's more to it than that. I think players with the the talent to do both are choosing to be hitters rather than pitchers. Pitchers are always one popped tendon away from being finished.

December 8, 2011  09:47 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

He's great here but just like Matsuzaka, after two years he'll be done. Hope Boston or Philly overbids for him.

Kei Igawa anyone?

December 8, 2011  09:52 AM ET
QUOTE(#16):

Kei Igawa anyone?

You know how they give names to things these imports can do? Dice-K had the Gyro ball. This guy's pickoff move to first will be called the Whirling Darvish.

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December 8, 2011  10:16 AM ET
QUOTE(#17):

You know how they give names to things these imports can do? Dice-K had the Gyro ball. This guy's pickoff move to first will be called the Whirling Darvish.

Nice...

For what it's worth, Dice-K *never* threw a gyro ball. Ever. It was all press hype.

Such a thing exists, by the way. It's been studied in wind tunnels by physicists. It's nothing more than the equivalent of a football spiral. The axis of rotation is facing the batter. The ball will drop less than a "rising" fastball, but not as much as a 12-6 curveball. It's just a different look to offer the batter... another way to keep him guessing.

 
December 8, 2011  10:21 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

He's only half Japanese, on his mother's side, so maybe he has half a chance.

Indeed. His father is Iranian; his mother is Japanese. The kid is 6-5 and weighs well over 200. Ethnically he's like your sturdy hybrid that you breed in the lab.

The reason why many Japanese pitchers hit the 3-year wall in MLB is because Nippon baseball is different. Pitchers there pitch once a week, so their arms get lots of rest. The ball is stickier and the threads bigger, so they curve almost like wiffleballs. Both Matsuzaka and Darvish were big breaking ball pitchers in Japan. That doesn't carry over as much to this side of the pond where the ball feels slippery and the threads aren't as pronounced. However he regularly throws 93 mph and can hit 97. On paper he could work...

But there is theory, and then there is what happens to 90% of promising prospects. It's all a crapshoot past a point.

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