Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish is likely to be posted for MLB teams following the Winter Meetings.
We’ve heard some uncertainty on the matter recently, though a source told Rosenthal’s colleague Jon Paul Morosi late last week that it remains “more likely than not” that he will pitch in MLB next season.
Darvish, 25, went 18-7 with a career-low 1.44 ERA and a 276/36 K/BB ratio in 232 innings this season with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Standing at 6-foot-5 and 185 pounds, he has a 1.99 career ERA over seven seasons in Japan.
While his posting fee might not approach the $51,111,111 sum the Red Sox bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka five years ago, the number still figures to be pretty substantial. And once exclusive negotiating rights are secured, it’s likely he will want an annual salary north of $10 million.
It will be interesting to see how this process affects the plans of teams at the Winter Meetings next week, especially those involved in the pursuit of C.J. Wilson. As Rosenthal notes, Rangers GM Jon Daniels and Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos both scouted Darvish in Japan this season. And though the Red Sox may be a little shy following Dice-K, Bobby Valentine’s experience in Japan can’t be ruled out, either.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.