Wednesday August 8th, 2012
Sam Evans: When the A’s acquired Josh Reddick from Boston this offseason, he appeared to be in place simply to just eat some at-bats for a rebuilding ballclub. However, in 2012, Reddick has finally tapped into some of his raw power, and as a result, he’s on pace to have a 5+ WAR season. Josh Reddick is one of the main reasons Oakland is contending this year, and Red Sox fans have to wonder if their team correctly evaluated Reddick’s talent. If Reddick can prove that his first 105 games haven’t been a fluke, he has a chance to win the A.L. Comeback Player of the Year award, and earn himself a long-term contract.
Thursday January 19th, 2012
Sam Evans: Last night, the Texas Rangers finally agreed to a contract with Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. The Rangers, who won the bidding to exclusively negotiate with Darvish last month, are acquiring a talented young starting pitcher. They definitely didn’t pay a small price for Darvish. We shall see if it was a worthy investment in the years to come.
Yesterday was the last day of bartering between the two sides. If Darvish and the Rangers could not come to terms on a contract, then Darvish would have pitched in Japan for the upcoming year. Luckily, they came to an agreement and we will see Darvish in the major leagues this year.
After the Rangers paid $51.7 million to negotiate with Darvish, it became clear that Darvish wasn’t going to come cheap. Darvish signed a 6-year, $60 million contract, making him the fourth highest paid player on the Rangers. In total, the Rangers are paying over $110 million for Darvish. On the other hand, C.J. Wilson who showed a desire to stay in Texas, wasn’t offered a contract. He ended up signing with the Angels for 5-years, $77.5 million.
One thing Yu Darvish has shown in Japan is the ability to carry a heavy workload. Darvish has pitched over two hundred innings in Japan every year for the last five years. Unlike other aspects of the game, an inning in Japan is the exact same thing as an inning in the majors. Conversely, I’m worried about the quality of hitters Darvish will be facing in North American. Japanese professional baseball is often compared to Triple-A. Both are considered to be leagues with hitters who don’t rely as much on scouting reports and can be overwhelmed with a fastball. In the majors, Darvish is going to have to deal with advanced scouting watching every game he pitches, and then analyzing and finding a way for opposing hitters to beat Darvish.
In my opinion, it’s crazy that the Rangers are paying this much for a player who has never even pitched in the minor leagues. This is a huge risk that the Rangers have shown that they’re willing to take. Personally, I would rather have C.J. Wilson for thirty million dollars less. Darvish should be a successful pitcher in the major leagues. His awesome array of pitches will likely baffle Major League hitters this year. Not to mention, the shuuto he throws will be something that most MLB hitters have never seen. Nevertheless, the Rangers are paying Darvish thirty million more than Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, and Chris Carpenter.
With his contract, Darvish will have to be an immediate ace for the Texas rotation in order to be worth the money. If I were the Rangers, I’d rather have used that money to go after Prince Fielder and sign him to a short-term deal. Fielder would be a bigger upgrade for the Rangers at first base over Mitch Moreland than Darvish will be over say, Alexi Ogando. The Rangers could have possibly signed Fielder to a 3-year deal, and brought in a veteran pitcher like Roy Oswalt to fill out the rotation. The Rangers would have had a much superior team than they will have with just Darvish… for the same price. I’m not doubting Texas GM Jon Daniels, but I think the Rangers might have gotten a little bit carried away in the Darvish extravaganza. Besides his on-field performance, the Rangers are betting that between international merchandise sales and marketing exposure, Darvish will literally pay himself. Time will tell on that one.
For 2012, the Rangers will be looking to compete with the Angels to take the AL West. While the Angels overall roster has a slight edge on the Rangers, Texas has enough minor league talent to go and acquire a star first basemen at the trade deadline if Prince does not come aboard. Overall, Rangers fans should not be worried about the Darvish contract. The Rangers may have overpaid, but Darvish will bring youth and potential to a Rangers rotation that needs it. If everything goes well, the Rangers will have six years of Darvish to keep them continually in the running for a World Series title.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter***
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