Yu Darvish to formally ask to be posted

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It’s been long suspected that Japan’s best pitcher — Yu Darvish — would be posted by his NPB team this winter, thereby allowing Major League teams to bid on him.  Kyodo News in Japan has now confirmed through several sources that, yes, Darvish will formally ask for this after the postseason.

There will obviously be a lot of interest in Darvish, with the Blue Jays, Rangers and Yankees all having been reported to be considering a run at him, and no doubt many other teams will join in the fray.  How could they not when he has posted a 18-6 record in 28 starts with an ERA of 1.44 while striking out 276 batters in 232 innings?  Yes, there have been many busts among Japanese pitchers coming stateside, but Darvish seems like a cut above.

Meanwhile, Joel Sherman reports that people inside the Yankees organization or kinda bad-mouthing C.J. Wilson.  between that and the Darvish news, Wilson’s agent is probably gettin’ really mad today.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?