Skip to content

Bidding for Darvish ends, wait begins

Dec 14, 2011, 10:13 PM EST

US Presswire photo
Yu Darvish will know which MLB club won the bidding on him soon.

Updated at 8:12 p.m.

The posting period for Yu Darvish expired at 5 p.m. EST, leaving any major-league clubs that bid on the Japanese sensation with nothing to do but wait to find out who won.

MLB teams had four days to submit blind bids to Darvish's Japanese club, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, unaware what other teams were bidding or how much they were bidding.

The Fighters technically have four days to select a winning bid, but sources familiar with the process said a decision is expected to be announced tonight or early tomorrow.

According to various reports and industry sources, only two clubs are known to have submitted bids so far: the Yankees and Cubs. A host of clubs made it known they did not submit bids: the Red Sox, Reds, Tigers, Dodgers, Orioles, Twins, White Sox, Phillies, Pirates, Rockies, Rays and Angels.

The Rangers, who have been mentioned as a likely frontrunner throughout the process, are believed to have not submittedRead more »

  1. Get Some Players - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    So did the Nats make a bid?

  2. Tell me you were kidding - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    The Nationals have not revealed whether they submitted a bid or not

  3. While we're waiting - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:48 PM

    "The Astros designated Brian Bixler for assignment, according to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The Astros, who needed roster space because of today's trade, had claimed Bixler from the Nationals last month. The 29-year-old appeared in 79 games for the Nationals in 2011, playing all three outfield positions, shortstop, third base and first base. He posted a .205/.267/.265 line in 94 plate appearances."

  4. John C. - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    We may be waiting a while; when the Yankees won the right to negotiate with Nakajima last week, the Yankees weren't identified for a couple of days after the bids were due. I think word will get around quicker this time though … Darvish has a somewhat higher profile.

  5. Anonymous - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    No way the Lerners ever bid enough

  6. Mark'd - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    Get Bixler back!

  7. Anonymous - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    Let's think about this for a sec. If Nats posted 50mil bid(which btw has to be paid to Jap team in one lump sum payment), then I think the money will be better spent giving Oswalt a 2 year deal with mutual 3rd year (buyout) option. Even then we'll have money left over to get the best bench money can buy. I'd go for Aoki instead, who will cost much less and is probably the best CF Nats can get at this point.

  8. JayB - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:47 PM

    Not a chance they have a winning bid….we have seen this time and time again….Nats are not players in these type of open market competitions….Draft picks where the market is closed ok…this…not a chance….they will be $20 million at least off the winning bid….and then Rizzo will say he was surprised that the market was higher but he is fine and will move on to plan D.

  9. Unkyd - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:47 PM

    Get 'em both!! Then they'll both have someone to talk to…

  10. JayB - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    Recall this is exactly how and why we got Maya and Martin…those top flight International Signings not long ago

  11. Anonymous - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    The posting fee system is a ripoff. This guy is going to end up costing some sucker team at least $125 million.

  12. Unkyd - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    That's the spirit!!!

  13. blovy8 - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    Maya would be a good reason not to go crazy for Cespedes either.

  14. Grandstander - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    Can someone answer this question for me, as I'm not really familiar with the posting system?So, if you negotiate with the player, but a contract isn't reached, the MLB team gets the posting fee back. Then what stops a team who's really not in the market for the player from just submitting a ridiculously high bid with no intention of actually signing the player. But in doing so, also blocking that player from signing with a rival team?

  15. blovy8 - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:26 AM

    I agree that Aoki is probably a better risk all around and actually fulfills a greater need. This would be pretty bold, but he's got some leverage and probably would be tough to sign. I wonder why he bothered since he hates the posting system, and the only west coast club that might bid is Seattle. Oswalt should be the plan, it'll be a much smaller commitment, and there IS depth in the rotation for the risk his back presents. Even limited to 143 innings and hurting, he was pretty good.

  16. NatsLady - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:26 AM

    We could do worse than getting Bixler back…

  17. baseballswami - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    Bixler is by far not the worst we could do. I seem to remember quite a few stinkers…..ok, NI bloggers – who is the worst player the nats have ever signed?

  18. FS - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    Awesome question Grandstander.

  19. Anonymous - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    There really is nothing to stop a team from bidding $100mil and then offer 10yr/$1 contract. So the whole posting system is broken. Still if the Nats can get Aoki for $20mil/4yrs (including post bid), I think it would be a worthwhile risk. Aoki will definitely provide good speed/defense and at least .350 OBP. What else can you ask for from leadoff/CF?

  20. blovy8 - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    Grandstander, I would guess it's mostly ethics and a kind of collegiality amongst the clubs, and that it would be seen as gaming the system. Even that much higher bid by the Red Sox ended up in a contract for Dice-K. I think the few teams who bid less would be pissed, as opposed to just one rival team in the other example, who realizes the stakes during the season.

  21. blovy8 - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    The other example being claiming a waived player you don't need so a rival for your pennant chances doesn't get him.

  22. Wily Mo Petersen - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:46 AM

    The Lerners are billionaires and getting richer every day, why not sign him? Darvish may never end being a superstar but he wont be a bust at 6'5", 225 and a 98 mph fastball, at worst he will be average, at best a Cy Young. If the Nats are serious about contending risking $100 to $130 million on a 25 year old starting pitcher is well worth it.Sign Aoki or Cepedes too and they should definitely try to sign Soler. If we are going to way over the cap might as well blow it out of the water.

  23. blovy8 - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    Yeah, I'd go that amount for Aoki. I'm guessing he's a better hitting version of Fukodome with more speed and better defense.

  24. Unkyd - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    GS: because it would be a cheap, sleazy, disrespectful thing to do. Wanna insure that nobody ever takes your phone calls? Pull some third grade nonsense like that….

  25. FS - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    Unkyd, that is still a valid question.

  26. BinM - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    Grandstander: IIRC, Oakland did that a couple of years back – winning the blind bid on a NPL player, then made minimal effort to sign him. He was returned to his club, and the bid returned to the A's. The NPL (and the rights-holding club) now has the right to review the next-highest bid if they feel that there is little chance of the player signing with the highest bidding team.

  27. Golfersal - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    Boy wouldn't want to be a Rizzo or any other GM. Such a hard job of predicting if a guy is going to do great and then shovel a boat load of money to the players team and then the player.After what happened in Boston with Daisuke Matsuzaka it seems like Russian Roulette to try and sign Darvish. Yes everyone is saying he is the best, can't miss. Gosh if Rizzo didn't want to go the extra year and 15 million for Buehrle, how in the hell is he going to commit a minimal of 100 million for Darvish?Didn't Yunesky Maya cost in the neighborhood of 15 to 25 million and that is a bust? Even Aroldis Chapman, who Rizzo lost out to Cincinnati has cost the Reds about 35 to 40 million and he may not pan out.Gosh guys like Brad Peacock, Tom Milone and even Chien-Ming Wang are looking more and more like bargins.Gosh if your going to give a team 50 million dollars why doesn't Rizzo go to a cheap team like Tampa Bay and offer them 50 million for David Price? Or go to that SOB McCourt in L.A. that needs money in the worst way and offer him 50 million for Clayton Kershaw?Has to be better ways of getting a possible superstar than this.

  28. blovy8 - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    Worst signing in terms of the contract was Guzman. And he was torture to watch, with the flip throwing he did and hundreds of weak ground outs. Other guys like Milledge were disappointing and had lousy instincts but came over in trades. Kearns just stunk pretty much too, but he was damaged goods from the beginning.

  29. Theophilus - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    Swami — Worst player ever signed: tie between Alex Cintron and Paul LoDuca.

  30. Unkyd - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    No. It's not. If you want to field a competitive team, you need to maintain at least the APPEARANCE of being a grownup. Seriously, y'all must be playin' me. This cannot be a serious point, being advanced. Really?

  31. blovy8 - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    Yeah, Lo Duca was bad, hard to top coming out on the Mitchell Report immediately like that.

  32. BinM - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    baseballswami: Do you really want to go there? WMP, PLoD, Kearns (re-sign/extension), FLoP, Stairs for the player side; Villone, Willems on the pitching side off the top of my head. Given the $ cost, I'd go with Kearns since he also cost us 1 1/2 years of Nick Johnson.

  33. Anonymous - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    How about that Pitcher around 2006 that got hurt warming up in Spring Training and NEVER PITCHER 1 PITCH for the Nats? What a joke that was. Can't remember his name

  34. Mark Zuckerman - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    Updated my article with teams that we know have submitted bids (Yankees, Cubs), those we know haven't (Red Sox, and a bunch of others) and those we still don't know about (Nats, Rangers, Blue Jays).

  35. CN - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:28 AM

    Mark,Thanks for the 8:12 pm update. Very interesting that Yankees are involved given the new luxury tax implications w/ the just-signed CBA

  36. baseballswami - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:29 AM

    Enjoying hearing your nominees for worst players ever signed by the nats – I tend to agree with LoDuca, but Stairs is right up there for me, especially because he couldn't play the field at all AND he couldn't hit. Anon 8:20 – I also do not remember the name – traumatic amnesia, I guess. For long term pain and suffering – Garrett Mock.Did we draft him or sign him?

  37. CN - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    @ Swami,I believe we got Mock from the D-Backs in the Livo trade…

  38. Just sayin' - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    If you believe the items on MLBTR — and that's a big 'if' — the Yankees submitted a 'modest' bid and the bid sent to the Ham Fighters was 'high' (and the Japanese team will accept it). We'll see.

  39. Anonymous - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    I remember now……drum roll please……..Brian Lawrence….Oh my god what a bust

  40. Unkyd - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:08 AM

    waiting,waiting……..(I think we're gonna get him!)

  41. Grandstander - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:09 AM

    Reports are that the Yankees bid was "modest" (per Jon Heyman) and the high bid is reportedly very large.As to my earlier question, it doesn't need to be a situation in which a club submits a ridiculously high bid and then just doesn't pick up the phone. You could post what you know to be a winning bid, in this situation, say $70m, and then just play hardball with contract, stalling out around 3/$40m or something like that, which you think Darvish would probably not accept given the posting fee. You're still coloring inside the lines there to give you cover from "not being a grownup", and you've also stalled out a possible division rival from gaining a major asset.As Blovy8 pointed out, this happens with the waiver wire all the time.I guess BinM has the right of it that you can sour your reputation with the NPL, but I still feel like there's a lot of wiggle room. Either way, I think we all agree the posting system is broken and hopefully a solution can be found.Worst free agent signed? It's scary the wealth of options available for the answer. I'd chuck my hat in with the hefty lefty, Ray King.

  42. Jeeves - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    'paid to Jap team'! And I guess I'm the only one offended by Anon at 6:41. wow!

  43. Water23 - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    Grandstander,Actually, the posting team can choose any bid. If it feels you are trying to game the system it may work once but next time it is unlikely that other Japanese team will pass on your bids. Also, negotiating in bad faith will probably has serious repercussion with the FA and the agents. You might find yourself out in the cold when it comes to FA players.

  44. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    No, Jeeves, you're not.

  45. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    Of course, Grandstander, the less you risk looking like a [jerk], the more you risk the guy actually signing and losing the money. That's why teams don't always offer arbitration–the player might accept.

  46. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    The Padres traded Brian Lawrence to the Nats for Vinny Castilla. Pretty much a wash, there, but not a free agent.I've got to go with Wily Mo Pena, tho Daniel Cabrera isn't a distant second. Guzman gets an undeserved bad rap here IMO, but that's been hashed to death and then some already. Ray King provided at least some production while he was here. Johnny Estrada didn't do anything, but he didn't cost much. Likewise Travis Lee–walked away from spring training.

  47. Unkyd - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    Out of line. Me. Although it's hard for me to fathom "grownups" playing those kind of games… I have to admit, we see it all the time. Sorry for the intemperate words, Grandstander…and FS….

  48. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    I'd add Matt Stairs, but the problem wasn't signing him, it was keeping him. They didn't have to do that.

  49. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:37 AM

    I dunno, Unkyd, it's not the worst thing posted in this thread.

  50. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:48 AM

    My Top-5 Worst, in no particular order:D-Cab, Stares, PLoD, Willy Taveras, WiMP.Smiley rates an honorable mention, though he obviously never hit our shores.Don Sutton gets the nod, media category,My gosh, we've come a long from from Leatherpants and Bowdenball.GYFNG!!!

  51. Anonymous - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    Considering Jeeves comment:An interesting side effect of having a Darvish could be the effect on Wang. The citizens of both countries have been know to have a great deal of animosity toward one another … both players are huge legends in their respective countries. It might foster a kind of synergistic competition that could greatly improve the performance of both pitchers?

  52. Anonymous - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:52 AM

    Rizzo loves playing it close to the vest … it does make me wonder how much of that is Ted Lerner whose business dealings have that mark.

  53. Arlington BigFish - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    Worst player ever: Daniel Cabrera, hands down. (Actually, watching him throw his hands up after each pitch — I guess in anticipation that some batter was going to take his head off — was one of the more bizarre experiences I've had in 50+ years of baseball fan-dom)

  54. Anonymous - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:02 AM

    I guess its my hope that the Nats do enter the winning bid. Not because I am particularly enthused about the player but because I think people need to stop beating on Rizzo and especially the Lerners! Nobody is perfect but from where I stand it appears (unlike a certain poor example in Baltimore) they are doing everything in their power to be good stewards of DC's one and only baseball franchise. Even in what seems to be a close-to-depression level economy. Then perhaps the anti-Lerner types (and there are many) will perhaps be silenced once and for all. But I doubt that would ever happen.

  55. Gabor Mehes - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:23 AM

    Washington is clearly no more a baseball town than Montreal was so the Lerners will just go the old Florida way, seemingly bid but instead pocket the luxury tax profits. With all this talk about a front line pitcher and a center fielder, they will start with Lannan as the senior pitcher and Werth on center field and a journeyman on left.Desmond the lead off…brrr.

  56. ehay2k - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:35 AM

    Awful players: FLop, Milledge, Dukes, Cabrera, Olsen.As for Darvish, it will be interesting if the Nats are in the running. Just posting shows they are seriously interested, but it's still an auction. If they bid what they thought was reasonable, and get outbid, I won't be calling the Nats cheap. Every team has a value they put on a player. Getting outbid means someone else values that player more than you do. It could be the other team has a GM desperate to make a splash (see Epstein, Theo), or is quickly trying to placate alienated fans (see Cardinals, post-Pujols). They just may see value that no one else does. And all player decisions are a gamble, no matter what blue anyone places on them. I remember the anger in the Natosphere caused by letting Soriano go. Of course, in hindsight, not signing him was a great move. Ditto Dunn.So you never know what will happen. Figure your value on something, bid it, and if you don't get it, so be it.

  57. ehay2k - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:38 AM

    …no matter what *value* anyone places…

  58. John C. - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:42 AM

    @Gabor: You are uninformed. The Nationals are not eligible for luxury tax money under the new CBA. Talk of a front line pitcher? What does that have to do with Lannan being the senior pitcher? Anyway, they already have two front line pitchers (Strasburg and Zimmermann starting ahead of Lannan – we are far removed from the days when Lannan was the Opening Day starter here. Even after losing 205 games in two years the Nationals still drew more than twice what the Expos were drawing in Montreal.Perhaps you may wish to research your positions prior to posting them. Or not, of course – this is the internet, no one can know who it is that is being a jerk.Heh. Caption word: calmlet :)

  59. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:53 AM

    Beer Goggles!! How could I forget?

  60. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:05 AM

    who is the worst player the nats have ever signed?Major leagues only? Wil Cordero didn't exactly distinguish himself that last year, but he had a decent career overall. Ryan Drese won a couple of games. Do Rule 5 guys count? Levale Speigner. Technically, a trade from the Twins, I guess.

  61. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:09 AM

    Jerome Williams. Had one good game in 2007, and he got injured in that. But he's stuck around the fringes of The Show since then.

  62. Young Pitchers - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:11 AM

    Anon 9:40 said '…An interesting side effect of having a Darvish could be the effect on Wang. The citizens of both countries have been know to have a great deal of animosity toward one another … 'Wang is from Taiwan, there's no animosity of any kind towards Japan and vice versa. If anything, it used to be a colony of Japan for 50 years and both countries are actually on very friendly terms because of this tie.Now, if you're talking about the communist China, then that's a different story. But it has nothing to do with Wang.

  63. SBrent - Dec 15, 2011 at 5:01 AM

    Grandstander, on your point about gaming the posting system, maybe we should bear in mind that your proposal involves giving away some $70 million of cash for, what, maybe two months? That's not a cost- free thing to do on purely financial terms. Compared to other investments you might make with the same money for that period of time, you might lose a million bucks in lost earnings trying to play a game like that. Kind of an expensive way to prevent SOME one team (out of 29, 25 of which don't play in your division) from acquiring a player who may or may not pan out anyway. Does that seem like a sensible cost-benefit tradeoff?

  64. Anonymous - Dec 15, 2011 at 5:34 AM

    Wang is from Taiwan, there's no animosity of any kind towards Japan and vice versa. If anything, it used to be a colony of Japan for 50 years and both countries are actually on very friendly terms because of this tie.Therein lies my point "colony". In general all Chinese and Koreans consider Japan a less than beneficent colonial power. Your history is lacking I'm afraid, you've forgotten world war II. At point much of China was under Japanese Imperial control. The atrocities that occurred in Shanghai come to mind. All Chinese (mainland or not) from a certain generation were pretty unhappy with the Japanese. How much that carries over to the current generation[s] is the question.

  65. Anonymous - Dec 15, 2011 at 5:39 AM

    The Nationals are not eligible for luxury tax money under the new CBA. Talk of a front line pitcher? In point-of-fact acquiring Darvish could in fact help in replacing that lost revenue stream. The Nats can't make the money off of the media the way the Angels and Rangers will …. thanks to Peter Angelos and MASN. Best perhaps only way? To field a consistent winner thereby filling the seats on a nightly basis. And doing mostly from within and not with high priced free agents. Nevertheless, at this point its almost a given that the Nats must increase payroll, BUT with proven performers in order to rebuild their revenue stream. A top-of-the-rotation SP and an elite hitter (see P. Fielder) might just fill that order.

  66. Unkyd - Dec 15, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    sigh….. No news, huh?

  67. Tcostant - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Here is the latest, still no word on if the Nats bid, but I have to think they did based on "Rizzo the Scout" comments.Beside the Reds not bidding, I see no huge surprises. The link notes that bid was high, so I think it around the $40 to $60 million range.MADE BIDYankeesCubsRangersBlue JaysDID NOT BIDRaysAngelsTwinsOriolesRed SoxRedsMarlinsMetsGiantsAthletics

  68. natsfan1a - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    awwww, why go there? a. it's water under the bridge. b. it's kinda meanbaseballswami said… Bixler is by far not the worst we could do. I seem to remember quite a few stinkers…..ok, NI bloggers – who is the worst player the nats have ever signed? December 14, 2011 7:30 PM

  69. Young Pitchers - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Anonymous of 12:34 AM,yes, in the aging, dying, and shrinking WWII generation, there's going to be someone who still harbors some unpleasant feelings. the rest of the country simply don't care.

  70. Unkyd - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    @1A……: so glad you post here :)

  71. frank13 - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    Thanks, Unk, and likewise. :-)

  72. Unkyd - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:18 PM


  73. natsfan1a - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    What the heck? How did that get in there? Yeah, that was me, Unk.

  74. natsfan1a - Dec 15, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Oh, I had a synapse lapse and typed the rent-a-cat's name (don't ask).

  75. Tcostant - Dec 15, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    This is the best kept secret in baseball history. I can't beleive that the winning bidder hasn't been leaked to the MLB Network; it t6he same owners.I remember when the protected listed for expansion was suppose to be "top secret" and the day the Cubs got it from MLB it was in the Tribune which owned the Cubs at the time.I still can't get over we can't even sniff a leak (yet).





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter