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The Darvish dilemma

Oct 27, 2011, 11:00 AM EST

US Presswire file photo
Yu Darvish, pitching for Japan in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

In their perpetual quest to acquire more pitching, the Nationals are likely to give some serious consideration to Yu Darvish, the latest Japanese sensation who may announce in the next few weeks he's coming to the United States.

General manager Mike Rizzo acknowledged yesterday during a conference call with beat reporters that members of the Nationals' international scouting organization saw Darvish pitch multiple times this year. Rizzo himself has scouted Darvish in person, though not in the last two seasons.

The process for acquiring top Japanese players is a complicated one. The player must first be posted by his current team, in this case the Nippon-Ham Fighters. Any major-league club interested in signing Darvish will submit a blind bid to Nippon-Ham, just for the right to negotiate with him. Once the top bidder is determined, it's up to that team and Darvish to work out a contract.

Suffice it to say, it's going to cost a pretty penny to land the right-hander. Darvish is just as hyped (if not more so) than Daisuke Matsuzaka, who in 2007 went to Boston after the Red Sox paid out a $51 million posting fee to the Seibu Lions and then a six-year, $52Read more »

  1. joemktg - Oct 27, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Love those posting fees: pure profit for the Japanese clubs. Go to think that $50MM is the floor given the market, and got to think the total cost for Darvish will exceed $110MM. So the additional question to "Is Darvish worth the risk?": is the minor league pipeline in such a shape that it justifies this risk? No.Wasn't the Yuneski Maya guess enough? Pass…

  2. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 27, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    It's only money. If the Nats are going to give it a shot, I say give it your best shot. Go for it.

  3. sjm308 - Oct 27, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    I agree with NatsJack – couple of things not mentioned in the article. 1. I believe Darvish is much younger than any of the others. 2. Just because we put in a bid, if its lower than another team or if we don't reach an agreement, we get that money back (at least I think that is how it works) so there is really no risk in at least submitting that blind bid. 3. We lose no prospects or draft picks in going after Darvish, only money which the last time I checked, our owners had plenty. 4. It once again sends a message to both Japan and Major League Baseball that we are in this thing to win. That perception goes a long way with players and agents.go Nats!!

  4. sjm308 - Oct 27, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    Oh, one last thing. I read there was a good possibility that Darvish might not agree to any contract since in two years he is a free agent, will still be under 30 and then ALL OF THE MONEY would go to him, no posting fee.

  5. Big Cat - Oct 27, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    Regardless of where he's pitching, those are some pretty good stats. How hard does he throw? If he's a nibbler/curveballer like Maya….no thanksHow the hell did this "blind offer" nonsense get started. Why can't you just pick up the phone and call his agent and make an offer. Something rotten in Denmark…….Japan

  6. Water23 - Oct 27, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    I agree with sjm and NatsJack. He is worth the risk. Also, Big Cat, that would be tampering as he is under contract with another club. I believe the posting system was something negotiated between Japan and MLB to make sure teams a get compensated.

  7. Water23 - Oct 27, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Another thought, maybe the Nats should spend $10-12 million for two years on CMW and call it a day. That would leave $80 Million for hitters.

  8. DL in VA - Oct 27, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Can an American club make a _trade_ with a Japanese club, and avoid the posting system altogether?(Not sure who I'd trade for Darvish, but just curious if it's even possible.)

  9. Doc - Oct 27, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    I agree with you Mark.By most accounts, we're talking about a guy who has pitched in an AA ball environment his whole career.A lot skittish on Darvish.

  10. jd - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    'It's only money. If the Nats are going to give it a shot, I say give it your best shot.' That's not really true. It's also money which could be used elsewhere. No team (including the Yankees) works in a vacuum; everyone has a budget and it's just a question of how you allocate your resources. $110 mil on a huge question mark doesn't sound like smart allocation to me.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    It is if you want to play with the "Big Boys".

  12. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    And I'm fully aware of how these things work. It's not like Darvish just popped up on everybody's radar. The Nats brain trust has already determined whether they are in or not on Darvish and all the other FA's that will be on the market. I'm just saying if they're in, then be in it to win it. Since it's money and not a loss of a draft pick or any other asset, I think he's worth the shot.There's enough money in the Lerner's fortune to be a "Big Boy".

  13. jd - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    "There's enough money in the Lerner's fortune to be a "Big Boy". No doubt; they should have a representative budget in line with a big market team; the question is how you allocate that money. When the Sox got Matuszaka he was hyped as much as Darvish is now. Don't you agree that hey now have buyers remorse?

  14. Court - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    To answer a question from above, Yu throws mid-90s and is a big guy so he profiles more as a power pitcher not a junkballer. Whatever money we'd spend, we'd make back thru marketing.

  15. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    With both the Yanks and Sawx in need of starting pitching, I think the Nats would be best served in sitting this one out and watching the circus from the outside.

  16. Mark Zuckerman - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    To answer another question: Darvish is 25. Dice-K was 26 when he signed with the Red Sox. Nomo was 26 when he signed with the Dodgers.

  17. Big Cat - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    While I am all for throwing big money around for say a Pujols or a Sabathia, this business of shelling out 40-50 mil just to make an offer doesn't fly with me. For a proven product….yes. For a little spindly curveballer with a straight fastball(youtube) I say nooooooo way. Ask the Sox how it worked out for them

  18. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    jd… sorry but Darvish and Matuszaka are entirely two different pitchers, especially at this stage of their career. And no one has Darvish throwing some mysterious "gyro" ball.I don't compare one to the other, at all.And this isn't a bidding war. Make your sealed bid offer and let the chips fall where they may.

  19. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    "Whatever money we'd spend, we'd make back thru marketing."And it wouldn't even be us spending it…it's the team's money. Just wondering–does it make a difference that he pitches indoors at home games?

  20. CMW Rules - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    CMW Cautionary tale!? He got injured it happens, should we falg Strasburg and JZimm as cautionary tales!? CMW in 5 seasons (you have to throw out 2009 where he battled injuries all season)has a record of 58-23 with a 3.91 ERA there is nothing cautionary about that he has twice won 19 games.

  21. markfd - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    I think Darvish is worth making a bid on, who knows if others will bid higher but it does not hurt to try.

  22. Natslifer - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Mark – We've got SS, JZ, and likely (I'm still in the likely camp) CMW as righties in the starting lineup for Day 1. Do you think Rizzo cares whether he starts 4 rt/1 lt vs. 3/2? Maybe we're stalling on CMW to see how this plays out? Or does this fit with the overall "grab as many quality arms as you can because SS doesn't make it through September and someone else is going to get hurt" approach? You can't spend this much on a guy and not have him in the Opening Day rotation.

  23. Big Cat - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    Sorry NatsJack…..count me out on this one. You also gotta think of chemistry. Right now the Nats seem to have a good bunch. You bring in another Maya for 60-70 million and there's gonna be some pissed off people. And Court, mid 90's?…yeah yeah….I've heard that before. When all is said and done, that mid 90's is 89-90 and is leaving the park on a consistent basis. Sorry, its too big a risk.

  24. Big Cat - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    You wanna throw some big money around? Lets go after Sabathia. I love Pujols but I really don't think he's leaving St Louis. We need another lefty anyway. Man, you put Sabathia in with JZim and Straw Dog…… you be talkin baby. Then Peacock brings his 94-95(legit) to the bumb. P-P-Playoffs!? We talkin playoffs?Sorry…this coffee got me going

  25. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Comparing Yu Darvish to other Japanese pitchers is comparing apples to oranges.Darvish is half Japanese half Iranian. He's 6' 5". He's not a short junkballer, he has top of the rotation stuff.From all the studies, the NPL is roughly equal to American AA ball. Darvish threw 200 innings at the age of 20 with a sub 2 ERA. If a pitcher here did that at AA at that age they'd be the #1 prospect in baseball hands down. He's already thrown 4 200 IP seasons with another over 180. His career ERA is slightly above 2 but is skewed by his 18 year old season. Since his second decade, he hasn't had an ERA above 2. He's pitched in big situations in front of big crowds something most pitching prospects can't say. Aside from Pujols, he's the one guy worth $100m this offseason.

  26. John C. - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    No pitcher – heck, no free agent contract – is a guarantee. Sabathia's knees or hips could flake out due to his weight; Wilson could be a mirage. You make your best assessment, figure out a value and decide whether you are in or not.Darvish is in a weird situation. The usual suspects (Red Sox and Yankees) may not be in as much for him given current payroll and other issues (Red Sox may be skittish after Dice-K; Yankees need to focus on Sabathia and may not have unlimited payroll flexibility in 2012 and 2013). OTOH the Blue Jays and Rangers are rumored to be major players for Darvish. The Nationals should be, too – within reason.Darvish is not Dice-K. He's not just slightly younger, he is significantly better in their only common basis for comparison. In Dice-K's best season in Japan, he had an ERA of 2.13; otherwise he varied between 2.30 and 3.97. In Darvish's worst season his ERA was 1.88! Dice-K had over 200 IP twice in eight seasons, four years apart (after his career high of 240 IP he only pitched 73 the following season); Darvish has thrown over 200 innings in three of his four seasons. Darvish has a higher K rate and a lower BB rate. He's 5" taller and throws harder than Dice-K ever did; there's no way of looking at this that doesn't conclude that he's just better than Dice-K.Dice-K ended up, before he got hurt, as a solid #3 pitcher in a MLB rotation (his first two seasons were better than that, his last two not as good). Based on their performance levels coming in you have to figure that Darvish's ceiling is above Dice-K's, which puts him at or near the top of the rotation. If you can lock him up for six years with a relatively team friendly contract (Dice-K's annual contract value of $8.6 million per season was only slightly above the rate the Nationals paid Jason Marquis, $7.5 million per season), then the posting fee becomes bearable. Further, for the Nationals, the posting fee is paid up front while the main team payroll is still low.Bottom line, if Darvish posts (and like sjm I've seen reports that he's not enthused about the posting process, where more than half the $$ goes to the Fighters and not to him) the Nationals should trust their scouts, make an assessment and the submit a substantial but not stupid bid. There are no serious costs unless you both submit the highest bid AND sign the player. If some team exceeds what you want to spend, bully for them. They should NOT adopt an "in it to win it" mind set about this process, because what they are trying to win is a World Series. No Pyrrhic victories for the Nationals, thanks.

  27. John C. - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    Don't know where anonymous got his numbers, but for the record Darvish's career ERA in the JPL is 1.81, and his worst season was 1.88:

  28. The Joker - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    The only way Rizzo ought to bid for Darvish is if he drinks too much sake.

  29. Steve M. - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    To me this comes down to where the Nats want to spend their cash. There has to be a budget. If there was no budget, wouldn't the Nats be the Yankees?

  30. NatinBeantown - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    Like usual, this isn't a "is he worth signing or not" conversation. Of course he's worth signing, at some price (+posting). It's up to Rizzo to determine his value, make a bid, and see what happens. Yes, he'll likely get overbid by someone else, who will pay way over his actual value. That's fine. It's that kind of dumb team management that will allow this better-than-average front office to move the team into contention faster.In other news, nice day yesterday over in Arizona yesterday for the baby Nat/Scorpians. Cole threw 3.2 innings, 0ER, 4K, 1BB. Norris and Harper both went 2-for-3, with Harper hitting a 3-run bomb. Harper has 7 hits in the last 4 games to get up to .297/.386/.568. That kid is something special.

  31. Gonat - Oct 27, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    Kilgore wrote today that he seems to think Wang will get signed by the Nats. If that is the case, I will be wiping egg off of my face with my comments yesterday.One thing about making bold statements, when you are wrong, step up and say it. I think I said I hope I am wrong.On Darvish, you have to ask yourself is this the best deployment of funds? You know what CC, CJ, Buehrle and Oswalt throw against Major Leaguers.Japanese pitchers performances in a Japanese league is not MLB. I think the risk is not worth taking -if- it keeps the Nats from getting other players.

  32. jd - Oct 27, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    Around NY they are talking about 7 years at $20 mil for Sabathia. At 31 and his physical condition you know that you are throwing away at least the last 2 years of the contract. I would run as fast as I could in the opposite direction.

  33. ZTown17 - Oct 27, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    It's difficult to say how Japanese ball stats will translate to MLB, but his numbers have been outstanding. According to a scouting report, he throws 91-94, occasionally hitting 97 (and apparently touching 100?) with a very sharp breaking ball. Go to and type in his name and some good highlights show up. He seems talented, seems like he has great stuff and control. And for a pitcher who has had a steady great career overseas, he's relatively young. I think it's worth a shot

  34. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 27, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    NatinBeantown…. Not A.J. Cole… that's Garrett Cole for the Pirates.

  35. NatinBeantown - Oct 27, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    NatsJack: Just realized the same thing. I should leave the reporting to Mark.

  36. The Great Unwashed - Oct 27, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    Put the money into hitters. Put the money into hitters. Put the money into hitters.Yes, pitching is important, but enough of these 2-1 wins. And I think throwing $100 million at Darvish complicates negotiations with Wang. Yes, Wang still has stuff to prove, but at least he's an established MLB pitcher.Darvish would make approximately 30 starts. A free agent position player would make approximately 155 starts. The Nats need more offense in the worst way. In addition to outpitching your opponents, you also have to outscore them.

  37. Water23 - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    If you sign him does it mean goodbye to Ross? Detweiler is probably worth something and a trade could be worked out. What would the Nats get for Bernie and Ross?

  38. Tegwar - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    John C has it correct, figure out what you think Darvish is worth and bid that and if successful try and sign him. If the Nat want to be a competitive team they have to operate as one. To me Darvish's numbers are impressive and since it is mainly a financial transaction you can make a determination as to what his worth is to the Nationals. Now I do believe that the Nationals will be out bid and I think the risk reward here for Rizzo is too high for a relatively new GM. If Rizzo makes too many mistakes he will not be a GM for long. That said I do think Rizzo is a risk taker but this is not one that he will take. I think that if Rizzo was going to commit the amount of money it would take to get Darvish he would have scouted him himself at least once in the last two years.

  39. Gonat - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    Great Unwashed, the Nats need both and Rizzo said it correctly, 1 more pitcher, 1 outfielder is the plan.He didn't say a #1 pitcher. The Nats would do much better overall with a mid 3.50's ERA starter and a .360 OBP guy who can either leadoff or fit in the 5 or 6 hole.I think getting a hitter who can play defense and run the bases is the bigger challenge. There are far less of those types available so the effort will be much tougher.

  40. Gonat - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    Water23 said… If you sign him does it mean goodbye to Ross? Detweiler is probably worth something and a trade could be worked out. What would the Nats get for Bernie and Ross? October 27, 2011 1:01 PM _____________________________Detwiler will either be traded or be a main component of the bullpen. Either way, Ross Detwiler will help the Nats.

  41. Steve M. - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    Gonat, I would agree with your last 2 posts. Take Rizzo to what he said for the off-season goals for 1 pitcher and 1 outfielder.I also agree that it will be the outfielder that will be a tougher find which should answer Water23's question that depending on how good the outfielder trade is and how many years remaining on the contract will determine the trade.I value Detwiler's potential as strong as he will be excellent in the bullpen and still has starter potential and 4 remaining years of team control.

  42. Avar - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    Agree that John C had the best analysis. Especially in contrasting Darvish with Dice K. At $100m, Dice K was a flop. At $100m, the vast majority of pitchers are flops. As John C points out, Darvis appears to be a much stronger prospect than Dice K but there is so much risk. Think about the fact that Darvis will cost 10 times what Strasburg cost. No one would pay $100m for a college pick and if Japan is comparable to AA, then it's comparable to high level college. Honestly, if the price is $100m, I don't even understand why we would consider it. Even $75m, it's still crazy. MAYBE at $50m but even that seems totally insane for so much risk.By the way, people who think the Lerners are rich so $100m is nothing are just amusing. The Lerners got rich by not paying $100m for unproven assets.

  43. Steve M. - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Avar, true. One of the goals of being rich is staying rich. Darvish is what they would call a risky investment. Its not a foolish investment, just risky. The lower the price, the lower the risk. I am sure Rizzo will bid and it will be a risk neutral bid which is why I think we spend too much time on dreaming about Pujols, Darvish and CC Sabathia.I would be thrilled if the Nats got Buehrle or a shorter term deal on CJ Wilson (5 years). Their veteran leadership and postseason experience will do more for this team than "hoping" a guy like Darvish works out.Even if the Nats got Coco Crisp in Free Agency, I still hope Rizzo gets the trade done for his corner outfielder. That may fill up the outfield but you can't state the importance of team depth.On top of all that, let's get both Zim's contracts extended. That is money better spent on the infrastructure of this team in my opinion.

  44. Ski64 - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:38 PM


  45. The Great Unwashed - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    Gonat,My point exactly. If the general consensus is that the Nats are looking for a #3 pitcher, Darvish is above that level (although unproven in MLB) and will cost too much.Even though the Lerners are the wealthiest owners in baseball, even they have limits. They don't spend money like the Yankees or Red Sox, so I think if they're gonna put down that type of money for a player, they'll look to put it into a position player.

  46. John C. - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    @Avar: FWIW, Strasburg's contract is only really comparable to half of a potential Darvish deal, because the right to draft Strasburg was free to the Nationals thanks to their losing 103 games. If the right to draft Strasburg (or Harper, really) had been up for the highest bidding MLB team, that would be the analysis. Would someone have bid $35 million to be able to draft Strasburg or Harper? Probably. $40 million? Possibly. $50 million? Hmmm … well, it would only take one sealed bid.Now where the situations would be comparable is in the player contract itself; a player posted from Japan or a player drafted only has the ability to negotiate with one team, and the only leverage is not to sign (the Aaron Crow option). This is why Strasburg (or even Dice-K) made so much less than they could have gotten as a true free agent.

  47. FS - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    What's the source for considering JPPL equivalent of AA ball? Is that common opinion among major league scouts, etc?I would love to see Darvish pitch for the Nationals, but I know he will cost a lot. For that reason alone, I am willing to look for other options.

  48. Gonat - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Steve M. said……let's get both Zim's contracts extended. That is money better spent on the infrastructure of this team in my opinion. October 27, 2011 1:35 PM ____________________________Agreed, lets get the internal players who need contract extensions done. JZim has 3 years left and Michael Morse and RZim have 2 years left.There is much money that needs to be spent on current players. The Nats payroll with 1 top Free Agent signed this year will go above $90 million.

  49. jd - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    The Yankees and the Red Sox spend incrementaly more than other teams not because their owners are richer but because their baseball income streams are much higher than anybody else and these income streams depend to a great degree on having championship level teams every year. As Steve M. correctly points out you don't just spend money to lose money; the Nationals have a budget which allows them to remain profitable and competitive. Each investment makes sense at a certain level and is foolish beyond that level. The Amateur draft represents the best value for the buck (mainly because top level draftees have no leverage and are getting screwed) in comparison to international signings and domestic FA's.

  50. raymitten - Oct 27, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    I'd pass. I've seen Darvish pitch in the WBC and was impressed, but really there has not been a Japanese pitcher come over here and be worth the money that Darvish is going to commnad. And Darvish, by virtue of his lack of experience, and age, is not going to be the experienced top of the rotation guy anyway. If we were starved for young pitching prospects with none on the horizon, maybe. But who here really thinks Darvish will be as good as/better than Stras, JZim, Detwiler, Lannan, Peacock, and/or Malone?

  51. Doc - Oct 27, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Not me raymitten!

  52. John C. - Oct 27, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    I don't think Darvish will be as good as Strasburg. I think he's got a shot at being as good as Zimmermann, with some limited chance of actually being better. I think that Darvish is likely to be better than Purke, Meyers, Cole, Solis or Peacock. I think he's almost certain to be better than Detwiler, Lannan, Wang, and/or Milone.Of course, no one is about to sign any of the latter group to a six year, $55-60 million contract either. :)

  53. Gonat - Oct 27, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    I tend to agree with John C. and Ray. To me, it is the posting fee that presents the biggest gamble not so much the annual contract.Thats what made Yunesky Maya and Aroldis Chapman worth the risk as there was no posting fee on them. They were international Free Agents. The Nats were the #2 bidder behind the Reds on Chapman if anyone forgot that.Chapman was supposed to be the lefty equivalent of Strasburg. This is the year the Reds take Chapman from the bullpen and try to make him into a starter.

  54. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    Japanese hurlers+big posting fee+huge long term contract=disaster! yet the stupid GMs never learn.

  55. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    We don't need pitching, we need offense and a hitting coach

  56. Jeeves - Oct 27, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Buehrle? I don't see it. His stats over the years are mediocre. And he's older now. Also don't see why Deitweler doesn't get more respect. He's young, he's a lefty, he can throw in the mid-nineties, on occasion. His other 'stuff' is respectable and he missed nearly a year because of injury thus impeding his progress. I think the kid will be an above average major league pitcher if he can stay healthy.Boy, I sure defend him and Desi a lot. Sure would like to be right about both of them. Promise I will eat crow if they don't pan out. But I certainly will mention it, ad nauseum, if they prove me right.

  57. Jeeves - Oct 27, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Oh, and I think Darvish is well worth the risk.

  58. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Pass on Yu Darvish. Sign Tammy Darvish instead. True, she throws like a girl. But she'd be way cheap.Either that, or instead of getting a pitcher from the Ham Fighters get one from the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl grew up in Springfield, so he might give a hometown discount. Don't know if he can throw, though.

  59. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    raymitten said… "But who here really thinks Darvish will be as good as/better than Stras, JZim, Detwiler, Lannan, Peacock, and/or Malone?"compare Darvish stats to AA stats of above pitchers you'll have your answer

  60. Gonat - Oct 27, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    Bryce Harper with another walkoff HR in Ryan Zimmerman style! 3 run jack for 8-7 win

  61. Gonat - Oct 27, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    Matt Purke gave up 3 earned runs in 1 inning and actually lowered his ERA and got it below 30 so he is now at 29.70My spy there said he didn't hit the catcher's glove again.Derek Norris got the day off as did Walters.BTW, Rafael Martin is doing the best of the Nats pitchers there.

  62. natsfan1a - Oct 27, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    On the live baseball front, hoping to see a good clean game tonight because that last one was rather unsightly.

  63. Ztown17 - Oct 27, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    Mark, here's a shot out of a cannon: what do you think about hiring either brad wilkerson, christian guzman, or jose vidro as a hitting coach? Or any great former hitter for that matter? Look at what Mark McGwire did for St. Louis! Not saying that a better hitting coach necessarily equals automatic results or that a good hitter necessarily equals a good hitting coach, but what are your thoughts on this? I feel like with Eckstein, our guys just get in our own domes at the plate, and almost anyone has to be an improvement!

  64. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    Please don't evaluate talent based on youtube. If you watch highlights of H-Rod you'd pay him $100 million. He looks far nastier than anything I've seen from Darvish. Dollar for Value. Do we need a No. 1 or No. 2. I'd say no for right now. We need a 3, 4 and 5 that can win slightly more than they lose. Do that and we're in the hunt. Get a high OBP center fielder and we're in the tall cotton. Repeat after me…we need hitters.

  65. Anonymous8 - Oct 27, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    From MLB Trade Rumors:"Folks seem to think the Nationals are going to make [a] big play for C.J. Wilson," tweets Jon Heyman from Sports Illustrated. Heyman thinks the Nats will offer Wilson a contract worth around $75-80MM. In August, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes thought Wilson could fetch a $100MM deal this winter given the lack of quality starters in the free agent market, but Wilson's postseason struggles will probably prevent him from that nine-figure contract.

  66. Gonat - Oct 27, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    Padres get stung in a Smileygate case of their own:

  67. Wally - Oct 27, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    Gonat – I don't see how you can separate the posting fee from the contract to Darvish. I mean, it is logical to do that from the player's perspective, but from the team's perspective, it all goes into the cost of getting the player. And I would not go anywhere near DiceK money for him. This is just a guess, obviously, but based on what Chapman got, I think Stras would have gotten $40m or so if he was a free agent coming out of college. For argument's sake, if you assume Darvish is a better prospect now than Stras was, you are still looking at $50m range for his market value, and I hope the Nats don't go higher than that. (I do not think Darvish is a better prospect now than Stras was coming out of college, though, so I probably am lower, in reality). There are very few pitchers that I would give DiceK money to (Cliff Lee comes to mind), but they would need to have a major league track record before I would even think about it.On Purke, I think that we are going to have to be patient with his rehab. Clearly the results are not encouraging right now (and the lack of command could be the most alarming point, since often that can be masking an injury), but he has a lot of work ahead of him. But I applaud the Nats for taking the gamble with him and Rendon – if even one of them turn out to be a quality major leaguer, it will be well worth their combined signing bonuses. I think those are good gambles to take.On CMW, I also was pessimistic about resigning him, but mainly I am pessimistic about getting him at below market rates. I think a tie goes to us, though. But someone a few days ago expressed a sentiment that I share – I would like to see him back, but I don't see him as a game changer, and hope that they find a better SP too.

  68. Gonat - Oct 28, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    Wally, the posting fee is seperate from the Free Agent contract although you are right, for practical purposes it is the total cost to get that player.What is also of interest to most teams is accounting for the posting fee which I don't believe goes against "salaries" which is factored into the "luxury cap". It doesn't affect the Nats but would for the Yankees.

  69. Nats1924 - Oct 28, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    I'd rather take this $110M and throw it at Sabathia than Darvish.

  70. Gonat - Oct 28, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    I'm with Nats1924 sort of, I want to buy that CJ Wilson guy, Coco Crisp and Madson for 3 deals that cost you less.I don't think CJ Wilson is a #1 like he was billed as, maybe a weak #2 but he is certainly a solid #3. Crisp is a stop-gap in case Rizzo comes up empty and Madson gives the Nats a killer 7-8-9 in the bullpen!

  71. Wally - Oct 28, 2011 at 12:32 AM

    How about 1/2 that amount for Beltran and Oswalt, and let the kids take over in two years? We can also add Crisp, if that helps.

  72. Gonat - Oct 28, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    Wally, I could go that way. Beltran is a better idea than Jose Reyes. You know you won't get a full year from either but you have depth in the outfield. I like the Beltran idea if you fail at getting your leadoff man so you stick with Desmond and bat Beltran 5th or 6th.Oswalt is my 5th or 6th choice. You would be ignoring the pattern to think he will give you more innings in 2012 than 2011. I certainly take Oswalt if I can't get CC, CJ Wilson, Buehrle, Wandy Rodriguez as those are the 4 before him.

  73. Wally - Oct 28, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    Could be. His last five years of innings isn't bad though: 139, 211, 181, 208, 212.If we could get Sabathia, I would pay the $120m or so. Wilson – maybe, depends on years and cost. I think he is pretty good though. I think Oswalt outperforms the other guys over the next two years, though. Loser buys a $10 beer at the Red Porch on Opening Day 2014?

  74. Gonat - Oct 28, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    Wally, you got it! How nice is it that we are talking 2 to 3 spots instead of 10 to 12.What a difference a year makes!

  75. Tcostant - Oct 28, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    I saw this guy pitch in San Diego in the World Baseball Classic in 2009. He was the best pitcher there, by far. He lights up the radar gun and has a nasty slider. I saw Chatman and Dice-K there to and Yu is an ace, and at least a #2. GET HIM!!!

  76. Tom - Oct 28, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    The predictions I have seen are that teams will not pay a 50 million posting fee like the Sox did for Dice-K (mostly because of Dice-K). Seems to me that Darvish has more upside than any other pitcher we could sign and will possibly end up costing less than guys like Wilson or Sabathia, neither of whom excite me. Plus, as I understand it, both of those two will cost us next year's first round pick and Darvish will not.Also as one person pointed out, some of that cost will be offset by the marketing potential. Japan is a huge baseball market and with Ichiro near the end of his career, I expect Darvish will be the most popular MLB player in the country. One question – does Peter Angelos control the Nats' television rights in Japan?





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