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MLB.com: Darvish will be the only big name free agent Blue Jays go after

by on Oct.13, 2011 @ 11:36 am, under MLB, NPB

[Via Nikkan Sports] MLB.com's Toronto Blue Jays beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers questions from fans.  One of them is about Yu Darvish:

Darvish is the only big name free agent I could see the Blue Jays taking a run at this offseason. The 25-year-old appears ready to make the jump overseas after beginning his career pitching for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.

Manager John Farrell has experience working with Japanese pitchers after his four seasons as a pitching coach in Boston, which included time with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima. That would provide insight on how to ease Darvish's transition to North America and Farrell even took Japanese-language courses while in Boston.

Farrell's previous experience is a nice luxury to have but this move will come down to money. Teams will be required to post secret bids to Darvish's team in Japan and the highest figure will net exclusive negotiating rights. Matsuzaka's total cost to Boston -- posting fee and big league contract -- exceeded $100 million and it's likely that Japan's latest prospect would net something similar in return.

It's a risky proposition for any team because it's impossible to really know how Darvish will deal with the transition to the Majors. The one thing we know is that Darvish's arm has a lot less mileage than Matsuzaka's had when he came over in 2007, which should bode well for his long-term health. Darvish also throws his fastball more frequently and commands it a lot better than Matsuzaka ever did.

UPDATE @ 3:01pm - [Via Sports Hochi] The New York Post's George A. King III includes the following snip about Darvish in a recent article on rotation issues for the New York Yankees:

Expect the Yankees to have a serious interest in Rangers ace C.J. Wilson, who will be a free agent, and to monitor the cost of importing Yu Darvish from Japan.