Darvish Intends To Stay In Japan

Yu Darvish, the 24-year-old right-hander who has intrigued MLB teams for years, says he expects to play in Japan next year. He said on his personal blog that he's staying put according to Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times (via Twitter). Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker translates Darvish’s statement.

"Next year … I’ll be wearing a Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters uniform," Darvish wrote.

Earlier in the fall, some suggested that the Nippon Ham Fighters would post Darvish and make him available to MLB teams. That would likely have made Darvish one of the most highly coveted starters available, after Cliff Lee and possibly Zack Greinke. Darvish did not post an ERA above 2.00 his first four seasons in Japan and he struck out more than a batter per inning with an above-average walk rate (2.1 BB/9) during that period.


Full Story | 31 Comments | Categories: Yu Darvish

31 Responses to Darvish Intends To Stay In Japan Leave a Reply

  1. wickedkevin 5 years ago

    Not gonna lie, pretty shocked here.

    • shoelessjoe 5 years ago

      probably as over hyped as dice-k….. no big loss

  2. dc21892 5 years ago

    It’s too bad he’s not coming over, though. His stuff really makes it look like he has the ability to be an elite starter.

  3. basemonkey 5 years ago

    This should not be a surprise. I’ve been saying it for years. I can read Japanese. And, any Japanese speaker whose followed this story will tell you that he’s very adamant in a very public way about how he’s not going to turn his back on Japan and Japanese baseball. He’s turned into a very public high integrity thing. English-speaking bloggers and reporters probably wouldn’t realize this, so they continue to post this story as if it’s a foregone conclusion that he’s coming here.

    • Hermie13 5 years ago

      Still doubt he turns down the MLB forever.

      He’s being smart IMO though. Why not wait til you’re a free agent? Being posted isn’t good for the player, only the Japanese team that puts him up.

      • basemonkey 5 years ago

        I understand what you are saying and you might be right. But, Yu Darvish is not your ordinary great ballplayer in Japan. He is a multimedia pop-star there. ANd, he makes a ton of money outside of actual pro ball there. Japan is not some random backwater. It’s not as big an economy as the US (Nowhere is), but it is the world’s 3rd largest economy, so the money he is making is nothing to scoff at. So, speaking purely in fiscal terms, it comes down to a slight step down he must take on to come to the US, because every Japanese star who has come over has lost a lot of endorsement deals in exchange for US opportunities. For Darvish, it would be higher than the norm. The only comparable I think we have here to Yu in Japan might be LeBron.

        • basemonkey 5 years ago

          These endorsement deals would easily add up to, say, 100M or so over in Japan. So coming to the majors would also be a calculus of giving up those non-baseball contracts in exchange of playing against the best of the world which MIGHT lead to recouping what you lost in money.

          • Shikikazu 5 years ago

            Highly unlikely his endorsement deals add up to 100M USD more like 10-20M USD and take my word for it I am Japanese, but its better than being forced to sign a 4 year 20 M contract in the US like Matsuzaka

          • basemonkey 5 years ago

            Well, I didn’t mean that such a 100M contract would be for a single year. No baseball contract is that way either. Endorsement deals aren’t structured that way here either. Overall it might add up to such huge numbers, but only over time.

  4. Darvish is an interesting guy. He has said a few different things. First, in Japan he is beyond the level of any sports-celeb we have currently in America. He was on the cover of newspapers when he was in high school. His ethnicity (being half anything is still a thing in Japan), style (baseball is the conservative “buzzcut” sport in Japan), teenage scandals and high profile relationship have made him transcend baseball in Japan. So he knows he is a celebrity. He knows he has to be measured in what he says. The thing about leaving is once you mention it, you have to do it. As recently as the 08 Olympics he said that pitching for the Japanese national team was never a dream of his and wasn’t a huge deal. He has since backpeddled.
    So, I’m not so sure how adamant he is about staying in Japan. He talks about how he wants to accomplish more in Japan, but what happens after he accomplishes everything?
    I will admit that English bloggers run a Darvish story whenever they are bored. The same can be said of the Japanese press. There were numerous Japanese web-sites running Darvish to Arizona and Darvish to NY stories this spring and summer. When I lived in Japan each baseball season was capped with a “Will Yu Leave?” story.
    After all that, my prediction is that he keeps saying the right things until he eventually does go to MLB.

    • basemonkey 5 years ago

      Good point. For sure. Perhaps Japanese outlets instigate the speculation just as much as US ones do. But, you are right about how Darvish transcends baseball, which I don’t think Americans quite get. We don’t really have a equivalent here. In spite of my LeBron comparison, he’s only the closest.

  5. greatpiino 5 years ago

    As someone who has followed other Japanese sports in the past, I can say that basemonkey is definitely correct. When the Japanese sports media finds a ‘darling,’ as in a native sports hero, they take stardom to a whole different level. Here in the states, most baseball fans know him as a supposedly great foreign pitcher who they’d be interested in watching over here. But at home, he’s a megastar household name, a sports icon in every sense of the phrase. So put yourself in his shoes: you’re young, wildly famous, and brilliant at your job. Why give that up right now?

  6. Wow, thank goodness. We don’t need another AAA pitcher getting paid major league money. Let those Japanese players stay in Japan. None of them are ever good enough, as far as pitchers, to be in the majors. Very few Japanese players can carry their success to the superior United States.

    • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

      Not entirely sure how to respond to that…

      • wickedkevin 5 years ago

        If I was a moderator I would know how to respond…

        Anyways, if I was a Japanese player who wanted to play in the MLB. I would sign a deal of no more than 2 years with additional player options. Easier to leave.

        • The Japanese league is the equivalent of an AAA league. They’re nothing special. No way should teams continue to make mistakes by ‘bidding’ on these players. Have you watched any Japanese baseball? Their strike zone is huge. He’d just end up being another Daisuke Matsuzaka over here in the States where superior baseball players, play.

          • His stats are largely superior than what Dice-K’s were in Japan. Daisuke’s career ERA in Japan was 2.81, with Darvish’s so far being 2.20 and declining every year. With his sub-2 ERA totals becoming almost annual in Japan, Matsuzaka never had 1. Daisuke’s ERA in the MLB so far has been 4.18, which is about a 1.37 run/9 increase from his Japanese days. If Darvish has the same type of increase after his first 4 years in the Major Leagues, his ERA would be 3.57 which could at most make him a #2 or #3 starter for a contender. And about the Japan League being equivalent to AAA, if a guy has put up 3 consecutive AAA seasons with an ERA under 2, do you not think he would deserve a call up? As a Braves fan, and even with the recent Japanese-import shipwreck that was Kenshin Kawakami, I would be 100% behind Frank Wren if he went after Darvish a couple years down the road. After 2011, Chipper Jones will likely retire, freeing up $13M. We will also be freed of the horrid Nate McLouth conrtact after the 2011 season. After 2012, Derek Lowe’s contract will be freed and give us even more money to spend. The Braves will have plenty of money to spend over the next several years, and I can see Frank Wren and the Braves being right there with Boston and New York for Yu Darvish’s services.

          • basemonkey 5 years ago

            I understand your logic but you’re being way too linear about it. Baseball has a definite mathematic dimension to it, but it’s rarely that predictably linear of a progression. If it were, pitching and prospects would be muuch easier to predict.I think all you can say is that, Darvish is significantly better than Dice-K, and Dice-K is average in the MLBs. So, Darvish could be an above-average or better MLB player. But we have to remember that the basic stuff and ability is vastly different between the two. For one thing Darvish throws a lot harder and has better late breaking ball(s).

          • His stats are largely superior than what Dice-K’s were in Japan. Daisuke’s career ERA in Japan was 2.81, with Darvish’s so far being 2.20 and declining every year. With his sub-2 ERA totals becoming almost annual in Japan, Matsuzaka never had 1. Daisuke’s ERA in the MLB so far has been 4.18, which is about a 1.37 run/9 increase from his Japanese days. If Darvish has the same type of increase after his first 4 years in the Major Leagues, his ERA would be 3.57 which could at most make him a #2 or #3 starter for a contender. And about the Japan League being equivalent to AAA, if a guy has put up 3 consecutive AAA seasons with an ERA under 2, do you not think he would deserve a call up? As a Braves fan, and even with the recent Japanese-import shipwreck that was Kenshin Kawakami, I would be 100% behind Frank Wren if he went after Darvish a couple years down the road. After 2011, Chipper Jones will likely retire, freeing up $13M. We will also be freed of the horrid Nate McLouth conrtact after the 2011 season. After 2012, Derek Lowe’s contract will be freed and give us even more money to spend. The Braves will have plenty of money to spend over the next several years, and I can see Frank Wren and the Braves being right there with Boston and New York for Yu Darvish’s services.

    • timmytwoshoezzz 5 years ago

      Good point. Ichiro. K Matsui, H. Matsui, Okajima, Fukodome, Hideo Nomo, and Hideki Kuroda always seem to be outclassed and do not belong on a 25 man roster anywhere.

      Don’t you have a tea party rally to go to?

      • What we have here is two players who were consistent in the majors while the others were flashes in the pan before the league figured them out. You’re right, the majority of them don’t fit on a competitive 25 man roster.

        LOL @ any argument that uses Nomo, Kuroda, Fukodome, Kaz Matsui, or Okajima was an argument for Japanese success.

        • timmytwoshoezzz 5 years ago

          LOL at any person who equates MLB success with living up to the ridiculous contracts some of these players receive. Have Dice-K or Fukodome lived up to the huge outlay of dollars that drought them here? Certainly not. Are they good enough to be on a major league roster? Yes they are. You telling me that Dice-K is worse than Kyle Lohse or Zach Duke? There is a place for Japanese players in MLB. Maybe just not a place for 50M/4year Japanese players unproven in MLB.

          Understanding the distinction isn’t hard if you try.

        • basemonkey 5 years ago

          troll

      • What we have here is two players who were consistent in the majors while the others were flashes in the pan before the league figured them out. You’re right, the majority of them don’t fit on a competitive 25 man roster.

        LOL @ any argument that uses Nomo, Kuroda, Fukodome, Kaz Matsui, or Okajima was an argument for Japanese success.

      • Ah But there is Ichiro… and every Major League GM & scout is trying to find the Ichiro of pitching. Ichiro is one of the best hitters of all time. 10 straight seasons with 200 hits? If he were playing in New York there would be no question about who the league’s best leadoff hitter was. I agree, most Japansese players have been trash, but there is Ichiro. He might be the only reason scouts are in Japan; they cling to the hope that there will be an Ichiro of pitching. Some thought Dice-K was going to be Japan’s pitching gem, but he wasn’t. Yu Darvish could be that guy, and I think he’ll get a chance to prove it one day soon. Hopefully with the Braves!

      • Ah But there is Ichiro… and every Major League GM & scout is trying to find the Ichiro of pitching. Ichiro is one of the best hitters of all time. 10 straight seasons with 200 hits? If he were playing in New York there would be no question about who the league’s best leadoff hitter was. I agree, most Japansese players have been trash, but there is Ichiro. He might be the only reason scouts are in Japan; they cling to the hope that there will be an Ichiro of pitching. Some thought Dice-K was going to be Japan’s pitching gem, but he wasn’t. Yu Darvish could be that guy, and I think he’ll get a chance to prove it one day soon. Hopefully with the Braves!

      • wickedkevin 5 years ago

        Saito

      • IHateJoeBuck 5 years ago

        Kazuhiro Sasaki was pretty nasty for the Mariners when he came over. He played from 2000-03 and won the ROY.

    • timmytwoshoezzz 5 years ago

      Good point. Ichiro. K Matsui, H. Matsui, Okajima, Fukodome, Hideo Nomo, and Hideki Kuroda always seem to be outclassed and do not belong on a 25 man roster anywhere.

      Don’t you have a tea party rally to go to?

  7. bigpat 5 years ago

    I would love to buy a Nippon Ham Fighters jersey but most people wouldn’t understand except for baseball nerds.

  8. I just read Darvish’s actual blog post and it is pretty funny in the way that it is written. I liked it. He definately has a personality that helps his celebrity status in Japan.

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