Monday, December 19, 2011

A Few Things About Yu

We were always told that there's a treacherous distance between a cup and a lip, so we've spent much of the past two days bringing down our heart rate and bracing ourselves for bad news on the Yu Darvish front.

In the absence of leaks or information upon which to report, virtually every story over the past week has taken it as a given that the Jays were going to be aggressive in their bid for the Japanese hurler, and likely more so than anyone else. Those comments are mostly just baseball's chattering class spouting off conventional wisdom, but Blue Jays fans (yours truly included) have let the possibilities dance about our heads like so many visions of sugarplums over the past week.

As apprehensive as we have been to give into it completely, Yu-mania has been a welcome respite from the offseason of anger and recriminations over the perceived lack of commitment on the part of Rogers to empty out their bottomless buckets of cash for this guy or that one, and mostly, the fat expensive one. Getting excited about the possibilities with Darvish in the fold is undeniably fun, and incredibly contagious.

Making the speculation all the more compelling is the fact that even a blowout deal for Darvish could be less expensive than Fielder, and a smarter investment for the Blue Jays. It's possible that Darvish might find North American umpires less in awe of his pitches on the edges of the strikezone, or that his fastballs up in the zone get hit harder than he could ever have imagined. But even if that is the case, the posting fee paid by the Jays will be a front-end sunk cost, and the contract won't be so onerous as to impede them from either moving him should the need arise.

You see what we did there? We don't even have Yu Darvish, and already, we're speculating on moving him. That's the insanity of this moment.

Mini-Tweet Bag: Answers to a Few of Your Tweeted Questions
Because it's been awhile, we figured we'd answer a few tweeted questions, especially since there are so many pertinent questions to be answered.

asks: If the Jays land Darvish, do you think they should go all in on Fielder?

No. We don't think the Jays should go all in on Fielder, regardless of what happens with Darvish. Fielder wants too many years, and we don't want to see the Jays as the team paying him $25 million six or seven or eight years down the road. If something under five years for Prince were to pop up, we'd consider thinking about it. But we're beyond exhausted with this discussion.

asks: What's a reasonable amount of years/dollars for this guy?

Assuming "this guy" is Darvish, we'd think five-to-six years at $12-to-14 million per year. Somewhere just under the money that C.J. Wilson received, though we think that Darvish will be the much better purchase.

asks: In 30 days, will Prince still be available?

We'd guess that a deal gets done before then, but not by much. If the Jays get their man in Darvish, we'd guess that the Rangers may take a run at Fielder. But we think that Scott Boras will keep Prince out on the market as long as possible to make him some team's last desperate gasp this winter.

asks: Who hits more home runs next year, Kelly Johnson or Colby Rasmus?

Barring injury, we'd say Rasmus by a fairly comfortable margin. People forget what a coup it was acquiring him, and he'll be a significant contributor to the Jays' success this year.

asks: If the get Darvish are they done improving the team this off season?

No, we think there is still another deal to bring in a bat, either by free agency or by trade. And there will be a few additions to the bullpen which we think will be marginal, but who knows. We've been shocked by Alex Anthopoulos before.

Mood Music for the Yu-letide
Fox Sports' Jon Morosi noted that the announcement of who's bid won should come this evening, perhaps around 9 pm. In the interim, we'll be blasting Europe's The Final Countdown all day to get psyched for the hopefully positive news.


Dan said...

I've been back and forth on whether the Jays should go after Fielder, if 2012 isn't a season where they "go for it" and just have the younger players gain experience and work out the kinks so be it.

But if the Jays just need a big bat to put them over the top in 2013, the 2013 free agency class doesn't seem to offer much in terms of a big bat. Hamilton might be considered the only big bat but he can't seem to stay healthy. The Jays would probably have to go the trade route to get the big bat, no?

Tao of Stieb said...

There's the trade route, or there's a certain outfielder who I really like whose name I shan't speak lest it jinx the acquisition.

Dan said...

Thou who shan't be named hopefully develops this year if kept. He may be the big bat ... I hope.

Peter DeMarco said...

My thoughts on Fielder:
- No team will be willing to give him a long term contract (8 to 10 years) unless it is at a reduced average annual salary say $20 million max.
- Ultimately I think he will end up signing a 6 year deal at a high annual rate of $24-$25 million per season.
- I don't think Fielder is worth either the long term lower annual rate or the shorter term higher annual rate. He is not Albert Pujols with the bat, has a 'bad' body and is poor defensively.
- Given the alternative options in free agency this year or next, I expect the Jays to pick up an elite player through a trade. I'm not yet convinced this will be another bat though.

Tao of Stieb said...

People look at Adam Lind, and they think: "How can we possibly compete when we don't have a Teixeira or Gonzalez?"

But I would run Lind out there every day if the trade off was more starting pitching. And a rotation of Romero-Darvish-Morrow-Alvarez-Cecil or maybe with one better arm in there could be frickin' awesome.

The basic difference between the Jays last year and a playoff team is an extra win every 10 days.

BigBear said...

I don't want to sound negative or rub folks the wrong way but I don't see the Jays winning it.
Yesterday they went after Latos and today the National Post article and now Buster Olney's tweets. I think I'll be devastated tonight @9.

NorthYorkJays said...

Adam Lind isn't a problem - relying on both he and Encarnacion to play every day is. If EE was pushed into a utility role by a bigger bat who can handle the OF Encarnacion could be used to spell Lind vs. lefties and get the rest of his ABs backing up DH, 3B, LF, and RF.

"The basic difference between the Jays last year and a playoff team is an extra win every 10 days."

Cute one, Tao. 100 points of winning percentage is GIGANTIC. It's the difference between the 2011 Yankees (97 wins) & Nationals (80 wins).