Prepare thyself. Another “must-see” Japanese pitching prospect could be on his way to the states as soon as this offseason.
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal heard from a source Saturday that right-hander Yu Darvish is likely to be “posted” this winter, meaning teams in Major League Baseball will have a crack at luring him away from the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Darvish is only 24 and widely considered one of the top pitchers in Japan. He has won two MVP awards in his first five seasons of professional baseball and became the youngest player in Japanese baseball history to be given a contract worth more than 300 million yen (about $3.5 million US) when he re-signed with Nippon last season.
He will have no trouble topping that salary if and when he signs with a team state-side. The Yankees, according to Rosenthal, have been watching every one of his starts and other teams are sure to step forward with bids as well. But let’s also keep in mind that pitchers of Darvish’s ilk are not guaranteed success in the big leagues. In fact, few have found it an easy transition.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.