We don’t know if the Nippon-Ham Fighters will post Yu Darvish this offseason, but many MLB teams are getting prepared for the possibility.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels scouted Darvish earlier this summer and Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com that he went to see the 24-year-old right-hander in person earlier this week.
“I’m doing my homework,” Anthopoulos was asked about his team’s level of interest in Darvish. “If I go see guys for the Draft … it doesn’t mean that we draft those players, or we have them high on our list. But I go see them, I want to have as much information as we can on all players.
“But there’s no question, he’s the reason that I went. I can sit here and [joke], say I went there to experience the culture, or build relationships. But if he hadn’t pitched I wouldn’t have gone, at least not in 2011.”
With Anthopoulos in attendance Wednesday, Darvish allowed one run over eight innings while striking out nine and walking two. He is now 16-4 with a 1.54 ERA over 21 starts this season. This includes a 206/27 K/BB ratio over 175 innings. He has a 2.04 ERA over parts of seven seasons in the Nippon Professional Baseball League.
Darvish would have to go through a posting process this offseason, which will likely come at a steep price. The Athletics bid $19 million for exclusive negotiating rights with Hisashi Iwakuma last offseason, but were unable to come to terms on a deal. The fee for Darvish should easily exceed that figure.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.