We won’t know anything official until next week, but Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com writes that reports in Japan indicate that the winning bid for Yu Darvish came in around $48 million.
If the $48 million figure proves accurate, it would fall just under the record $51,111,111 sum the Red Sox paid for exclusive negotiating rights with Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006. They ended up agreeing to a six-year, $52 million contract.
George A. King III of the New York Post reported yesterday that the Blue Jays have the highest bid for Darvish, checking in somewhere between $40-50 million. We’ll have to wait to find out if that’s the case, but the winning team would have 30 days to work out a contract. The 25-year-old right-hander is reportedly seeking a five-year, $75 million deal, which could push the total investment over $120 million for an MLB team.
The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.
Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.
There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.
That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.
The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.
One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.
Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.