English: Yu Darvish begins his pitch.

Image via Wikipedia

Rangers’ President and CEO Nolan Ryan was so impressed with the 25-year old Yu Darvish that his Texas Ranger ballclub “posted” a $51.7M fee just to win his exclusive negotiating rights, then recently signed the so-called “Bob Gibson of Japanese baseball” to a $60M, 6-year contract. Wow!!!!

In return for dropping the A-bomb on them, I guess we must have agreed to employ over-priced pitchers from Japan.

All-time, a total of 43 Japanese-born players have played at least one MLB game, but come on….plenty of home-grown pitchers can throw 94-95 MPH fastballs for a whole lot less than $111M!  As far as Japonic pitchers go, Hideo Nomo did well for the Dodgers and Red Sox (throwing no-hitters for both), but the over-hyped Daisuke (Dice-K) Matsuzaka never fulfilled Boston’s expectations and the late Hideki Irabu was a total bust for the Yankees (recall that Steinbrenner was so frustrated at one point, he called him a “fat pussy toad”).  Chien-Ming Wang did win 19 games twice for the Yankees, but he doesn’t count—he’s Taiwanese.  So what’s the freakin fascination here with hurlers from the Land of the Rising Sun?

In seven seasons playing in the Nippon League (Japan’s version of MLB), Yu Darvish was a very mediocre 93-38 but with a lights-out 1.99 ERA.  Last year he was 18-6, with a mind-boggling 276Ks and only 36 walks in 232 innings.  Scouting reports say his slider is devastating, but his fastball doesn’t move much and he has a slight hesitation in his delivery —somewhat reminiscent of Nomo, but not nearly as exaggerated.  He is an abnormal 6’-5” and 220 lbs., but can his stuff translate to the big league level?

I believe the Texas Rangers (See the Yu Darvish press conference)  panicked big-time in trying to find a front of the rotation replacement for the departed C.J. Wilson, and now they definitely have chopped off any further re-building of their pitching staff and probably don’t have the money to contend anymore for top MLB free agent Prince Fielder.  Is Yu Darvish the answer? Looks like the Ryan Express has been de-railed by Godzilla!

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Filed under: Pro Baseball

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