Report: the Diamondbacks are prepared to unload the money truck on Yu Darvish

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Last month we heard reports that Japanese ace Yu Darvish could be posted this winter (i.e. his current club, Nippon Ham, could make him available to major league teams for a price). Now Patrick Newman of the excellent NPB Tracker passes along word that the
Diamondbacks are willing to go as high as $80 million for Darvish.

Some portion of that would probably be the posting fee and some portion of it the actual contract, what with the previous record posting fee being  $51.1 million for Daisuke Matsuzaka.  With his contract added in, Matsuzaka ended up costing the Sox over $100 million. Figuring that (a) the Diamondbacks aren’t likely to spend like the Sox; and (b) Dice-K ended up being, you know, not worth $100 million, you’d have to assume that the $80 million figure would cover it all.

As for Darvish the pitcher: he’s been worked hard during his professional career. There are some that categorize him as a Dice-K style nibbler. Not sure if that’s just stereotyping — a Japanese pitcher being a “nibbler” is becoming like a white guy being a “possession receiver” in its cliche value — but the point is that not everyone is as excited about Darvish today as they were a couple of years ago.

But, hey: nibbler or not, overpriced or not, he would almost certainly constitute an improvement for the Diamondbacks as they try to build their team around starting pitching.

Former Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos signs a minor league deal with the Dodgers

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Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.

OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.

It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.