One always has to be wary of reports like the one that is making its way around the Hot Stove about the Yankees having an interest in signing free agent Yu Darvish. But just in case it’s true, they don’t need Yu, and we don’t want Yu.
It turns out though the most trusted name percolating the rumor is Jon Heyman, who writes for FanRag Sports: “New York Yankees people do like Yu Darvish, and at a reasonable price, he will be seriously considered. It seems everyone’s strategy this year is to wait for the price to drop.”
I don’t know about Yu, but there doesn’t seem to be any teeth in the rumor to me based on what Heyman says. And it sounds more like a plant from someone in Darvish’s camp who knows what happens when the New York Yankees get drawn into a conversation like this one.
I hesitate to question one of the best in the business, but I would be surprised if the Yankees “people do like Darvish,” at least in the context of signing him. After all, what’s there not to “like” about a pitcher who sports a 56-42 record with a 3.42 ERA in the DH’ing American League?
Well, come to think of it, there is something not to like. And that’s his 2-4 record in six postseason starts, highlighted by the big one when the Los Angeles Dodgers sent Darvish out there needing a win again the Astros in the World Series. The line on that one reads a dismal 3.1 innings pitched, nine hits—including two home runs—and eight earned runs. One game does not make a career, but if the Yankees were to sign Darvish, it would be with the playoffs in mind, not the regular season when they’ll march to the playoffs with or without him.
And in case you forgot, here’s how the blood was spilled when Darvish imploded in Game Seven.
And then we get to the question of money. Last season, Darvish pulled in $11 million, pitching mainly for the Texas Rangers before he was traded to the Dodgers for their postseason run, which eventually stalled.
As a free agent, Darvish is earmarked to start the bidding at $100 million and working up from there, depending on the number of years he signs for. As a reminder, we’re talking about a 31-year-old pitcher who had some mileage on his right arm long before he came stateside from the Japanese league.
Caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware who thinks Darvish will be the same pitcher he is now when he’s 35 in the final season of a four-year deal, or god forbid, something even longer than that.
Bottom line? The Yankees don’t need any of this. To mess with the luxury tax threshold, even pending a Jacoby Ellsbury unload, at this stage of the game is heresy and ill-advised. The Yankees need to get under the cap so they can open the door for 2019 when they are in the forefront competing for the likes of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and even, Clayton Kershaw if the Dodgers don’t lock him up during the season this year.
The Yankees have five starters many teams would die for, and there is plenty of time as the season moves along to add to the staff if things go haywire. If a need arises, Brian Cashman has proved himself more than capable of handling it.
Put this rumor in the Recycle Bin where it belongs.