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 had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.
Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.
Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.
Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).
Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.