Reviewing Last Year’s Two Biggest Free Agent Passes

Anybody wish these 2 were around right now? Courtesy of US Presswire & Getty Images

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

Interestingly enough, or frustratingly enough depending on how against the austerity plan you are, the Yankees really kicked this plan into high gear last offseason when they failed to get involved in the international free agent market.  It was one of the best classes in recent memory, highlighted by Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes, 2 players who, ironically enough, play the positions the Yanks most need to fill this offseason.  At the time, the Yankees’ reasons for passing on both players were good ones.  The history of Japanese pitchers making the transition to MLB was short on success stories, and the Yankees had been on the losing end of that gamble before, and there were questions about Cespedes’ ability to come right in and play at the Major League level.

Not wanting to commit high dollars to 2 risky options that might not have returned comparable rewards, Cash decided to play it safe with his bids on each player and the Yankees lost out on both. … Click here to read the rest

Game 18: Duel at Ranger’s Ballpark

Charlie Riedel, Associated Press

The narrative in tonight’s game will surround two pitchers who could, at the end of their careers, be crowned the greatest Japanese pitchers in MLB history. After only 3 major league starts, that might be preemptive for the Texas starting pitcher Yu Darvish, but he’s certainly the most talented pitcher to come out of the NPB. You can read more about what Darvish throws and how he’s pitched thus far in my scouting report. Hiroki Kuroda will be pitching for the Yankees, and in his MLB career he’s been the most successful Japanese pitcher to switch leagues. That said, there is a different narrative a lot of Yankee fans will be watching, the Yankees’ failure to seriously pursue Darvish. When Brian Cashman opted not to aggressively bid for the Japanese super-star, he instead targeted Michael Pineda and Kuroda. While Pineda’s future with the Yankees has become a huge question mark, Kuroda could step up and show that Cashman made the right move, but could also get shelled while Darvish mows down the Yankee lineup.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHF/x Scouting Report: Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish is the newest high-profile Japanese player to ship out to the MLB. There will be plenty of narratives when the Yankees play Texas tonight. Hiroki Kuroda v. Darvish might be proclaimed the battle for the title of best Japanese starter, but what I’ll be watching is the pitching. The 25 year old right hander is undoubtedly the NPB’s most successful pitcher to head to the Major Leagues, and the Rangers invested over $110 million to have him play for Arlington. If you read the hype during his posting, Darvish has a huge pitching repertoire, and numerous sources said he had more than a few plus pitches. While I dreaded tackling this article due to his pitch arsenal, I also loved the challenge. As I’ve stated before, I’m still in the process of developing my own database for this series, and I’m heavily reliant on TexasLeaguers and BrooksBaseball. Turns out that TexasLeaguer’s GameDay’s algorithm for identifying pitch types absolutely rules, and although it’s not perfect, it did an incredible job with Darvish.… Click here to read the rest

Series Preview: Yankees vs. Rangers

The Rangers are coming off an 8-1 road trip against the terrible Twins, the rickety Red Sox, and the tenacious Tigers. The 2010 and 2011 American League champions have arguably been the best team in baseball thus far, and although its way too early to start looking at places, they currently have the best winning record of 13-3. While we all knew they would have one of the best offenses in baseball, the question surrounding them was a suspicious starting rotation for such a team with a hitter friendly ballpark. With the loss of CJ Wilson to the Angels, the Rangers haven’t missed him a bit. Their offense has indeed come through with baseball’s most 94 runs scored, aand the team’s pitching has given up the least runs at only 42. Perhaps it’s small sample size, but the Rangers have proven that they’re the same team they were last year.

Monday- 7:05 PM EST on MY9/ESPN
LHP CC Sabathia v.Click here to read the rest

Nightly Links: Empire State Yankees, Sabathia, Chamberlain

  • Hiroki Kuroda had a shaky start for the Yankees this afternoon, though he retired the first three batters in a row, he proceeded to give up three hits and three runs after. The relievers were more impressive today, with Soriano, Logan, Warren, and Rapada each striking out two. On the offensive side, Nick Swisher and Jose Gil doubled, and Russell Martin stole a base. (Box Score)
  • Due to construction on the Scranton at PNC Field, the Yankees’ triple A affiliate won’t have a home this season, and Mike Ashmore has the news that they’ll temporarily be called the Empire State Yankees. They couldn’t have picked a cooler name.
  • Today, It’s About the Money profiled my sleeper pick this spring training, Zoilo Almonte. While Chalker believes the switch hitter’s floor is a 4th outfielder, he also believes we a good season could push him into the major league team’s right field next year.
  • Rob Abruzzese found a quote from Hamels following his start this weekend, and the southpaw was impressed with how nice the fans were.
Click here to read the rest

Sunday afternoon news roundup

The hot stove season has been pretty quiet so from the Yankees’ perspective (with nothing much going on since the Freddy Garcia signing), but things may be starting to heat up.  The spending sprees by the Angels and Marlins have been the story of the offseason so far, but a few big storylines remain.  Around the league, some new occurrences may start to set the pieces in motion for the Yankees as they look to fill out their roster.  Here are some recent rumors and events that may have implications for the Yankees.

Darvish situation awaits resolution

While many people believe that the Toronto Blue Jays are the likely winners in the Yu Darvish posting sweepstakes, recent rumors that the winning bid exceeds the $51+ million paid for Daisuke Matsuzaka do raise some questions about the involvement of an infamous “mystery team.”  The Jays were rumored to have come up with a bid in the $49 million range, but no other team has been linked to a number that high.  … Click here to read the rest

The two guys no one’s talking about

As I write this (8:40 PM on Wednesday night) it looks very unlikely that the Yankees are going to get Yu Darvish. We’ve also heard relatively little on the trade front except that the prices of two Yankee target–John Danks and Gio Gonzalez–are exorbitant. The White Sox wanted TWO of Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, and Dellin Betances for Danks (lol) and the A’s apparently asked the Marlins for Mike Stanton in return for Gonzalez. Until those trade prices come down, the Yankees are going to have to look to the free agent market to patch up their rotation.

Yes, at this point, it should be clear that they need to do that. I like the Freddy Garcia signing, but will lightning strike twice? Granted, with Garcia, lightning doesn’t need to strike twice. If he can throw 150+ innings while racking up a low to mid 4’s ERA, I’ll be happy. The back end of the rotation really isn’t the Yankees’ problem, is it?… Click here to read the rest

Darvish Postings Finished

UPDATE (8:00) Piling on a bit here, but Heyman also says that the Yankee bid is nothing special and that the winning bid is expected to be sky high.

UPDATE (7:47) Apparently the bid was not huge and probably not enough to win.

UPDATE (7:42) Jack Curry confirmed the Yankees’ bid:

During meetings today, Yankees discussed Darvish. Eventually, they elected to make a bid on the pitcher.

UPDATE (7:27) Brian Cashman, being very cryptic, wouldn’t confirm the Yankees’ submission:

Cashman, via text, on if he offered a bid for Yu Darvish: “Wouldn’t say.” So… there’s that

So the postings for Yu Darvish are complete. From Buster Olney, we learned that the Yankees did, in fact, submit a bid. Let’s hope it was enough to win. Any updates will be posted here. … Click here to read the rest