Don’t Overpay For Darvish

Earlier this afternoon, Patrick Newman presented you with some Yu Darvish Facts, while Eno Sarris broke down the differences between Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka. I’m finishing off Yu Darvish Day here at FanGraphs, but I’m actually not going to write all that much about Darvish specifically.

Instead, I want to talk about Darvish’s price. Over the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of speculation about what kind of money it might take to obtain his services. Last week, Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com polled five agents and a team executive on their expectations of Darvish’s cost, and they came in with an average of a $45 million posting fee followed by a “five or six year contract in the $72-$75 million range.”

I’m not here to say that those sources are incorrect, but I will say this – any team willing to pay that much money to acquire Yu Darvish is kind of crazy.

Using the lowest projected figures from that poll ($30 million posting fee, $72 million for a six year contract), the most conservative estimate puts the total price to acquire Darvish at $102 million, or $17 million per season. If you take the average instead, that pushes the total up to $120 million, or right around $20 million per season. Essentially, that price not only treats him as a player with the track record of a Major League front-line starter, but one who has the leverage of a free agent. In reality, he doesn’t have either of those things.

Let’s deal with the latter portion first, as a player’s leverage is a far more important factor in his overall price than his current talent levels. Currently, Darvish is four years away from actual free agency, so from a service time perspective, he’s in a similar position to a player who just finished his second full season in the big leagues. In some ways, you could think of Darvish as being the ultimate Super Two, and we’ve seen some pretty terrific pitchers become eligible for their first big paycheck after completing two full years in the big leagues.

If we travel back just a short period of time, we find a pretty analogous situation in Tim Lincecum. From 2007 to 2009, the Giants ace led the Majors in ERA, FIP, and xFIP, and he won back to back Cy Young awards immediately before qualifying as a Super Two. No matter how great you think Darvish has been in Japan, his resume simply doesn’t stack up to what Lincecum compiled at the beginning of his career. He was arguably the best pitcher in Major League Baseball at age 25, and like Darvish, he was due a substantial raise and was four seasons from free agency.

Lincecum signed for $23 million over two years – $11.5 million per season with no real long term risk absorbed by the Giants.

Why? Simply put, he had no real leverage. He could go to arbitration and get a pretty nice paycheck for 2010, but the market forces that drive free agent salaries up didn’t apply to Lincecum. Because he was essentially only able to negotiate from the standpoint of not taking a multi-year deal, his alternative was about $10 million for one year – the expectation of what he might have received as a Super Two if he went through the arbitration process. Darvish made the equivalent of $6.5 million last year, and Patrick Newman informs me that he’d be in line for an $8-$10 million paycheck from Nippon next year if he ends up staying in Japan – similar to the salary Lincecum could have expected by going to arbitration.

Now, Darvish probably has a bit more leverage in his current situation than Lincecum did in his. After all, the Giants controlled his rights entirely, so regardless of what path he took, he was going to pitch for them in 2010. The team that submits the highest posting fee for Darvish does not automatically acquire his rights – if they don’t also sign him to a contract, he doesn’t join their team. So, their decision is “Darvish at x cost” or “no Darvish”, whereas the Giants were simply choosing between “Lincecum at x cost” or “Lincecum at y cost”. Either way, the Giants did not have to negotiate against the potential of not having him on the roster.

However, there’s little to suggest that Darvish’s ability to stay in Japan should be worth an extra $6-$9 million per season with 3-4 additional guaranteed years tacked onto the end of the deal, and that’s only starting from a position that Darvish = Lincecum in terms of future expected performance, which is not a position I would want to argue.

Lincecum essentially set the bar for what a young pitcher that is four years away from free agency should be able to receive. It’s nearly impossible to make the case that Darvish’s performance in Japan cleared the Lincecum Bar, or that he’s currently worth more than Lincecum was following the 2009 season.

In fact, the rumored price tag is actually valuing Darvish at the same level of Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, and Jered Weaver, all of whom signed deals for five years for between $78-$85 million. However, each of these pitchers were not only proven All-Stars, but each were only two years from free agency when they re-signed with their current organizations.

Darvish may eventually prove to be as good as Hernandez, Verlander, or Weaver, but that’s about the most aggressive projection you could possibly put on a player who has never pitched an inning of Major League Baseball, and even his terrific performances in Japan shouldn’t lead us to expect him to pitch at that level. In addition, those pitchers were each two years closer to being able to have their salaries determined by the market than Darvish is. There’s simply no reason to pay Darvish as if he’s already that good or that close to free agency.

Because the Major Leagues don’t operate as a free market, contract prices for players are essentially determined by current value, risk absorbed by the team, and the leverage of the player conveyed by his current situation. Darvish’s current value is something of a question mark. The risk absorbed by a team investing heavily in a long term contract for a pitcher is fairly high. Despite his success in Japan, Darvish has minimal leverage.

The realities of his situation simply don’t support the need for a huge contract. There are legitimate reasons supporting the projected posting fee – $45 million for six years of team control of a potential impact player probably isn’t out of line, honestly – but once a team wins the bidding for Darvish, there’s no reason to offer him a contract that values him as one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Whatever team wins the bidding for Darvish should use the Lincecum contract as a template – offer two or three guaranteed years up-front with an annual average value of around $10 million per season, then add in a few team options to ensure that he gets paid well if he performs at a high level. This structure shifts some of the future risk back to Darvish rather than being carried by the organization, but compensates him at fair rates if he proves to be an elite starting pitcher. To make sure that teams aren’t abusing his lack of MLB service time in deciding whether to exercise the options, grant him free agency after his fourth year if any of the team options are declined. Essentially, treat him like a Super Two, and pay him in line with what other Super Twos of significant value have received previously.

But, to pay upwards of $40 million for the right to reward him as if he’s already established himself as one of the best pitchers in all of baseball? That doesn’t make any sense, and Darvish doesn’t have the leverage to hold out for that kind of contract.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

77 Responses to “Don’t Overpay For Darvish”

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  1. Eminor3rd says:

    It’ll be kind of funny if he doesn’t even post.

    Much funnier though, if the Yankees lost Sabathia and were banking on him posting.

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    • Frank says:

      But they’re not. Because they’re an awesome organization that knows what they’re doing. And they keep winning year after year after year despite your objections and how painful it is to you.

      Great post though. It must be a fun day in hypothetical land.

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      • davisnc says:

        I’d argue that a team that really “knows what [it's] doing” probably wouldn’t have a $205 million payroll and still have to trot out Freddy Garcia and AJ Burnett in a 5-game playoff series. But then again, try telling that to the 2011 World Series champions, the New York Yankees!

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      • davisnc says:

        By the way, I’m just poking the bear. Don’t bring up the Red Sox payroll, or 27 rings, or winning 97 games, blah blah blah. It’s obviously a successful franchise. I just happen to hate it.

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    • Woodrum's UZR Article says:

      the yankees DIDNT lose sabathia, though.

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  2. Mike says:

    Does the team that signs him get 6 years of control? I had thought that MLB didn’t apply those rules to Japanese players. They Yankees did not have 6 years of control over Matsui, for example. He wasn’t posted, though so that may be the difference.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Many of the Japanese free agents have negotiated releases into their contracts at the expiration of the original deal, but the team has to expressly waive their rights to additional team control beyond that point. If it’s not negotiated in, then the player is treated just as any American player with that level of service time would be.

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        Yes. Okajima, for instance, signed a two-year (2007-2008) contract with the Sox, with a third option year (2009). When the three years were up, the team still controlled him, and he was arbitration eligible for 2010.

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    • Cliff says:

      That is the difference. Matsui was a true free agent.

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    • Davor says:

      After each season teams have to offer contracts to their players. For those with less than 3 years of MLB service time teams can renew contract without player accepting it. For those with 3-6 years and super-twos, that is arbitration offer. But if they don’t offer contract to a player, even if he has only 1 year of service time, they loose him. Japanese players and other high-profile foreign players (like Cubans) have clauses that teams can’t offer them arbitration/automatic renewal.

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  3. Jeff says:

    So you are saying that a $45m posting fee, and then a 2-3 year contract at $10m transfer risk to the player? Assuming he isnt good, such a team would have blown $65m over two years, or $75m over 3 years.

    No matter how you slice it, this is a VERY risking proposition for any team.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      The proposed contract structure would give the winning team four years of control over Darvish. If the team option for the third or fourth year was declined, he’d simply become arbitration eligible and have his salary dictated by his performance. If he was a disappointment during those first few seasons, then they’d get a lower rate for non-guaranteed years.

      But, yes, by paying that much money up front, there’s going to be significant risk for whoever ends up winning the bidding on Darvish. There’s no way to get around that. My argument is that the winning franchise shouldn’t then compound that risk by giving him a massive guaranteed contract on top of the posting fee.

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        Dave, I agree with the premise of your article, in a vacuum. Darvish’s choice is to a) sign what the MLB team offers, or b) go back to Japan where he is stuck with year-to-year contracts for less than $10M.

        But the problem is the precedent of the Red Sox giving Matsuzaka (a lesser pitcher by all accounts) $52M. Why do we think teams won’t similarly overpay again?

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      • Dave Cameron says:

        Teams learned from the mistakes of Mike Hampton – they can learn from this one too.

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      • Davor says:

        Team can’t fill arbitration offer at less than 20% of previous year’s salary (that is for players with less than 6 years of service time, to full FAs team can offer anything). So, there’s no realistic way to keep his rights through arbitration.

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      • Someanalyst says:

        @Davor – you mean 80%. Or 20% less.

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    • Ari Collins says:

      Getting him for $75MM over three years and then having the option to retain him at $10MM a year every year for the following three years is much much much better for the team than simply shelling out $105MM for 6 years. Yes, if he sucks and you have to let him go, then you paid him $25M a year for three years, but that risk is inherent in the large up-front posting fee, and it’s much better than if he sucks and you’re locked into $30M more for him.

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  4. Eminor3rd says:

    When is the deadline to decide if he’s posting?

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    • Nate says:

      Usually they can do it in November, but I think he and the Fighters have to wait until after the Nippon Series (their WS) is over. That won’t be until mid-November because their season got off to a late start as a result of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster earlier this year. After that, I think they can do it any time between now and the beginning of next season. Nishioka was posted kind of late last year, as I recall.

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  5. Ari Collins says:

    The great thing for the team that wins the bid for him is that you don’t even have to give that money unless you sign him, and no one else can get him that offseason. It’s a weird system, but a team can totally game it.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      The bad thing for the team is that you have to pay ~$50MM up front, as the posting fee isn’t paid over the life of the contract he signs.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Are you suggesting that a team bid $100M and then not negotiate in good faith?

      If a team didn’t make an offer over, say, $25M/3, I think NPB and MLB would void the bid and allow him to be re-posted.

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      • Brian says:

        Well, look at what happened to Hisashi Iwakuma and the Oakland A’s. Bid high and low ball the salaries. If the guy doesn’t like it, he can return to pitch in Japan for another year.

        I can almost bet you that Billy Beane purposely won the negotiating rights just to stop rival competitors from winning the bid.

        Same thing might happen to Yu Farid Darvishsefad.

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      • IvanGrushenko says:

        If Beane really did that, and he might well have, Iwakuma had the rights to appeal on the grounds that Beane didn’t bargain in good faith and negotiate with another MLB team. He chose not to appeal.

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      • ofMontreal says:

        They didn’t appeal because they wouldn’t have won. Iwakuma is the perfect example. The players/agents think they’ll get a free agent type offer and when they receive a risk moderated one they consider it low ball. As Dave said, the player has no leverage in this situation. Daisuke didn’t get a monster contract, and he pitched about to his compensation level before he got hurt. The posting fee has nothing to do with mlb player value(except generally) and nothing to do with salary. The media gets excited about the big number and because they have something to write about, then conflate that with potential salary. Beane was right on with his offer last year, they just wouldn’t bite. And it also shows mlb teams have learned how to game the system. Which I take some heart in.

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  6. Ari Collins says:

    It’s worth mentioning, as always, that teams get a few million dollars more in value versus someone like C.J. Wilson in that they don’t have to give up a draft pick. They also save some money if they’re near the luxury tax threshold, thanks to the posting fee not being actual salary, but that’s not an issue for most teams, and the extreme front-loading of the salary hurts a lot, thanks to the time-value of money. Teams could always front-load their contracts with huge signing bonuses that, I don’t believe, count towards the luxury threshold, but it’s pretty telling that teams never do that.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Signing bonuses count towards the luxury tax. The CBT is calculated based on the total guaranteed value of the contract divided by the guaranteed years.

      And, unless you’re the Yankees, the structure of the posting fee hurts more than it helps. That’s an up-front payment. Because of inflation and cash flow, teams would rather pay $54M spread over the next six years, than have to pay $50M now.

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      • Ari Collins says:

        Thanks for the info on signing bonuses.

        And yeah, the bit about backloading contracts versus large signing bonuses/posting fees is exactly what I was saying.

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  7. KaminaAyato says:

    It seems that the pitchers that have had success coming across the Pacific have not been the fireballers, but the control artists such as Kuroda and Nomo (to some extent). I think more than anything else that’s the question we need to ask of Darvish – what type of pitcher is he?

    We know he can throw hard, and we know he has a bevy of pitches at his disposal. But if he can’t display above-average control like Kuroda, I wonder how successful he can really be.

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  8. tripvm says:

    Somebody is going to pay toward the top end when he does post despite the huge risk. Who are the candidates? The Yankees, Rangers, Cubs (Theo has done this before), and Red Sox come immediately to my mind as possible gamblers.

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    • Tim says:

      I could see the Blue Jays looking at it, they have some money to spend. Orioles never do spend a ton, but they have the resources to. Angels could probably handle the cost and the whole West Coast angle might appeal to Darvish if they were to win the posting bid process. Not sure if a team like the Tigers would go for him but I don’t think it is out of the question. Cardinals maybe? I really don’t know…just throwing stuff against the wall.

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  9. SaberTJ says:

    Loved the article and analysis Dave.

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  10. cpebbles says:

    A more analogous position for him to be in would be if he was a draft-eligible sophomore. His leverage hinges on him being willing to wait a year and negotiate with another team. Draft-eligible sophomores have a lot of effective leverage, but then again they’re usually not asking for $70 million.

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    • WilsonC says:

      Except that the sophomore isn’t making 8-10 million per year while he’s holding out. We’re not looking at someone looking to start his career here, we’re looking at someone who already has a great career seeking advancement. That elevates the scale.

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      • cpebbles says:

        I’m not sure how much it changes the scale. Teams would view the leverage that comes from being a draft-eligible sophomore as worth at most a few million dollars in an MLB-ready player. The college player can fall back on his scholarship, Darvish can fall back on $8-10 million in NPB. It’s conceivable that a team could decide to give him a couple of million dollars’ premium on that salary, if they decide that’s what the possibility of him waiting out a year is worth, though in practice teams really seem to value posted players in free market terms.

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  11. Andrew says:

    Considering Darvish is a bigger superstar in Japan than Nomo, Daiseke, and Ichiro were before they came over, wouldn’t the team also factor in the newly generated revenue that would come in from Japan as a result of signing Darvish?

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      That’s mostly a myth. A team only directly profits off of a) ticket sales, and b) merchandise sold at their park. If Japanese fans are mail ordering Darvish jerseys or buying them at their local Sports Authority, MLB is the one profiting off of that. Sure, the team that owns him gets a cut of that, but no more than any other team. And it’s not like building a good ‘brand’ will help attract NPB players in the future; because of the posting system, they don’t have a choice over which American team they sign with.

      So it really only helps if the signing results in increased ticket sales.

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      • Lenard says:

        When Matsui played for the Yankees, there was advertising in the stadium in Japanese because the games were shown back in Japan. While the Yankees obviously don’t need help selling advertising space, some other teams may. Of course, since it will be mostly big market teams competing to bid on Darvish, it probably will not make much of a difference. But the increased competition for ad space may drive up the price some. Obviously not a whole lot, but maybe amount to a few million extra dollars over the life of a contract.

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  12. Hurtlocker says:

    Seriously, do you really think there is NOT a team out there that will pay way more than this guy is worth?? The fact that three articles are in fangraphs today just shows how much hype one guy can generate. Hype equals money these days.

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  13. Frodominic Brown says:

    Does anybody know how the posting fee goes on the team books? I’m guessing the ~$45 million is treated differently than normal team payroll, but I only have hazy memories on those details.

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    • Nathaniel Dawson says:

      It’s up to the individual teams to determine how they account for it. You have 30 teams in baseball, with the myriad ways you could put it on your books, there could be 30 different ways teams could treat this. It could be different from one team to the next.

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    • Question says:

      Wouldn’t a $45M expenditure this year, lead to an approx. $15M savings on this years taxes?

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  14. Kampfer says:

    How much tax is Darvish going to pay if he works in the States? Will that cut into the contract value enough that he would rather stay in Japan and make 8~10 million per year? In Japan, permanent resident pays tax on money made abroad. I am pretty sure that all states in the US charge tax on income made locally. How do these taxation affect the gross income made by Japanese players? Would it be the reason why team in US must pay a premium to acquire services from players overseas?

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    • ninetyfeet says:

      Well, there’s no state income tax in Texas, Washington, or Florida, and a few other states without MLB teams. I think it’s more complicated than that though- players on teams in those states don’t simply pay no state income tax. I think.

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        State income tax is complicated. Some states tax you based on whether you’re a resident in that state; some states tax you based on whether you worked in that state. This can result in paying double state income tax, though many states will give you a credit for taxes you had to pay to another state.

        This issue is too complicated to bother discussing right now. We don’t know what team Darvish would be playing for, the details of Japanese tax law, or even whether Darvish would be domiciled in the US or Japan.

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      • Tim says:

        Some states have what you call a “jock” tax aimed at professional athletes who are playing away games in another state. Many can basically instruct an employer (team) to withhold tax from a player’s salary to be paid to them (a different state). A-Rod had to pay hundreds of thousands a year in state income taxes for other states when he played for Texas.

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      • Tim says:

        I should add that it is not the official name of the tax and doesn’t only target athletes. It’s just that for people making money in a state on an in-frequent basis, athletes are easy to target because 1. They are wealthy and it is worth it and 2. Their salaries and schedules are well known.

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  15. Dan M. says:

    Would you rather?:
    CJ Wilson @ 5 yrs 85 million.
    Yu Darvish @ 5 yrs 55 million (plus 40 million posting fee).

    I vote Darivsh.

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    • Kampfer says:

      I have some concerns over C.J.’s arm… Though C.J. still seems to be a safer choice.

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    • Ari Collins says:

      Wilson is, in many ways, as hard to figure out as Darvish.

      On the plus side, he’s pitched like an ace the last two years. On the negative side, he’s about to turn 31.

      On the negative side, he’s only got two years of starting to project from. On the plus side, he should have less mileage on his arm because of that. On the negative side once more, he relieved for a while, which can be tough on the arm, and we don’t know what transitioning from reliever to starter really does to you.

      I’d probably go with Wilson, but it’s a tough call, and it’s also hard to tell what the final amounts are going to be for the two of them.

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  16. DanK says:

    You are worth what people are willing to pay for you.

    What does leverage have to do with this?

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    • Ari Collins says:

      Well, players who are in arbitration have no leverage, since they can’t play you off other bidders. Similar situation for drafted or posted players; they can re-enter the draft/posting system at a later date, but they can only negotiate with one team. That’s where leverage comes in. You’re worth what bidders are willing to pay, but you have to take into account how many bidders there are, and the cost of not signing.

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      • DanK says:

        You are still missing the point. Darvish is not in arbitration. Who cares if Linecum was. It does not affect what any other player should get paid. For years Pujols was getting “under paid” partly because he was under team control and he elected to get more money gauranteed rather than risk waiting until he was a free agent.

        This did not stop a lesser player, AROD, from breaking the bank and getting paid way more than Pujols. People are under and over paid all the time based on many conditions. In the end you are worth what people are willing to pay for you.

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      • Everett says:

        Wait, I’m sorry, Arod was a “lesser” player at what point in time? Not if we’re talking about his original FA contract. In later years he fell off, but over the first 7 years after FA, he averaged just over 8 WAR per year.

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    • Because only one team is negotiating. He absolutely would make more money if he was a free agent than with the posting system.

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      • Preston says:

        He would make more money, I’m not sure that a team would pay more total minus the posting fee. Because it’s blind it forces teams to literally bid against themselves. Teams do this to a certain degree in FA but usually they at least have some feel for the market. With a posting fee I feel like teams have no clue what other teams will do. Who knows, it only takes one team to make all salary predictions seem silly (see Werth, Jayson).

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    • ofMontreal says:

      The team that wins the bidding has the leverage. That’s all there is to it. They have exclusive rights to an unknown quantity. If the unknown quantity wants too much, then it does change hands. That’s leverage to the bidder. Your position assumes the bidder would do anything to get the unknown quantity.

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  17. IvanGrushenko says:

    I don’t see what Lincecum has to do with anything relating to Darvish. Shouldn’t the calculation be something like:

    Projected 22 WAR for 6 years X $5M/WAR = $110M
    less: Projected Darvish Japan salary $30M over 4 years + Projected Darvish US salary of $30M for 2 years = $60M

    = Maximum Posting Fee = $50M

    If Darvish would rationally sign for anything above what he would make in Japan plus what he could make as a total FA for 2 yrs after 4 yrs of indentured servitude, and the above numbers are close (they probably aren’t) then doesn’t the $50M Posting Fee make sense?

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      $5 million per win is the going rate for free agents. Yu Darvish isn’t one.

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      • WilsonC says:

        What is free agency? It’s spending money to add talent to the organization. If it makes sense to spend $110-M to add 22 wins over 6 years for a free agent, it would make sense to spend that much to add the same amount of wins through other means as well. It’s true that a player being posted has less leverage – the $60-M estimate that he’d otherwise be getting in this example reflects that – but with teams bidding against each other, it makes sense for teams to be willing to pay a total cost similar to what they’d pay a free agent. The net result is the same – they have a player under contract who wasn’t a part of the organization beforehand – and if they don’t bid something that will make the total cost similar to what they’d pay a free agent, another team will.

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      • Eric says:

        @WilsonC

        Teams aren’t bidding against each other. Once you win negotiating rights, no other team has a say in the deal.

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      • WilsonC says:

        It’s a blind bidding, but their still bidding against each other, in that they’re placing bids based on what they anticipate other teams will bid. They’re acting on limited information, but they’re still using their best guess of what other teams are bidding as a foundation for their own bids. The competition ends when the bids are cast, but if a team’s not aggressive with that initial bid, chances are they’ll lose the right of negotiating.

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      • IvanGrushenko says:

        Why does that matter?

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  18. WilsonC says:

    I don’t think the Lincecum analogy really works. With Lincecum, he basically just negotiated cost certainty with the Giants – they absorbed the risk of the second year, for a slight discount on his potential earnings. The Giants had Lincecum at a team friendly rate regardless, so really that type of contract changes little for either the team or the player.

    With Darvish, it’s more analogous in principle to a home-town-hero with a no-trade clause being granted a negotiating window to complete a trade. The team winning the bid is paying a significant fee (similar to the surplus value of players traded to get a star player) in order to initiate this negotiating window. He doesn’t have a free-agent’s leverage, but he’s not likely to accept the trade unless he’s offered a substantial raise.

    We don’t really know how much Darvish want to come to MLB, but he’s shown reluctance to being posted in the past.

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    • Dan says:

      “We don’t really know how much Darvish want to come to MLB, but he’s shown reluctance to being posted in the past.”

      yeah but the reason was that he had a divorce going on and was afraid to lose a lot of money to his former wife last year. Shouldn’t be a concern this year.

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  19. jpg says:

    IMO, Rizzo and the Nats should go all in on this guy. The Nats, like Darvish, have almost no leverage in the open market. They have money, but not enough to go toe to toe with big market teams. No offense to D.C natives, but nobody yearns to play there. The only way they are getting a big name is if they grossly overpay (like they did with Werth). The posting system and the exclusive negotiating rights would nullify their shortcomings and give them a real shot to land an elite pitcher. Its a major risk but the reward could be astronomical. Darvish, Strasburg, and Zimmermann could anchor the Nats rotation for the next decade.

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  20. Robert Mackenzie says:

    The mistake signing Igawa should not keep the Yankees from going after Darvish any more than Burnett should keep the Yankees from going after Felix were he a free agent. Everyone is comparing Darvish to other Japanese pitchers but I don’t think it’s fair to compare them. They are different pitchers with different stuff, different bodies, different ages and far different abilities. Darvish is 6’5 much taller than Dice-K at 6’0 and he’s also much more athletic. if you have to compare him to a Japanese player I think Yu translates more to an Ichiro type in terms of his quality as a baseball player.

    Some things not to be overlooked when considering Darvish:

    1. The posting fee would not count against the luxury tax. Since the Yanks are in the luxury tax it would make sense to sign Yu. He would only count about 9-10 million a year as a number 2 where CJ would cost 15-18 mil per.

    2. Some of the posting fee will be recouped in merchandise and advertising because he is Japans best and most popular player

    3. Signing this “free agent” would not cost a draft pick, unlike C. J. Wilson.

    Also it’s not like Yanks have never had a successful Japanese player, remember World Series MVP Hideki Matsui. And by the way, Darvish has been a much better pitcher in Japan than Daisuke Matsuzaka ever was. In fact he is clearly the most impressive pitcher that will have ever come out of Japan (if he does). In Japan he has had an ERA below 2 every year and averaged almost 200 innings with 200Ks per year and a very good whip. If you were ever going to take a chance on a Japanese pitcher this would be the guy. There are no guarantees, but he’s young only 25 and the Yanks would be paying for all his prime years. If he turns out to be an ace like the scouts are predicting, I think he is a worthwhile investment.

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    • Dan says:

      I totally agree. As a Yankee fan I hope that we can land Darvish. We lose no draft pick and just have to give up money. Even if Darvish isn’t worth the money he’s worth the risk because at best he’s an ace and at worst he’s still a #3 type guy imo.

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  21. Jeff in So. Indiana says:

    I think the article misses the fact that you don’t have to give up a first round type-A pick and you don’t have to trade a bunch of high level prospects.

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  22. jay destro says:

    #6org

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  23. walkoffblast says:

    I was looking at what the luxury tax savings were really worth to the Red Sox from Matsuzaka and noticed there is an interesting twist to the posting process. It actually is the inverse of the free agency market because it is to your advantage when you are at or over the luxury cap. The Red Sox bid 50 mil but unlike almost every other team in baseball they had reason to believe they could get at least ~20 mil of that back in luxury tax savings. The reason I say at least is because they had the potential to actually get back under the cap, thus saving percentage of future payments once the team exceeds the cap again.

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  24. justanotherfantoo says:

    If the winning posting bid fee for Darvish is only $50 million, I will be amazed.

    I can’t imagine it won’t be at LEAST in the $60s.

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  25. SC2GG says:

    Unlikely anyone will see this, but..

    How does this new CBA international signing limit affect the Yu Darvish posting and signing? Can he just.. not be signed now?

    Or does “international” mean “international other than Japan”?

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