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Why I Believe The Twins Are Going To Sign Yu Darvish

Call it a hot take. I'm fine with that. It's been cold out, and the frozen state of affairs this offseason is only deepening the chill.

But I've become convinced that the Twins are destined to sign Yu Darvish. And while it's very possible that my desperation for something – anything – to happen this winter is driving me into delirium, I really don't think it's a totally baseless prognostication.

When hundreds of Minnesota baseball diehards congregate at the Winter Meltdown in a couple of weeks, I think we'll all be celebrating the biggest free agency splash in Twins franchise history.
Image courtesy of Robert Hanashiro, USA Today
What leads me to this conclusion? Well, part of it is wishful thinking, I'll admit. Darvish would be an awesome fit on the Twins and would lift them to serious championship contender status almost instantly. I badly want to see it, so long as the price makes any sense.

But there are also plenty of legitimate indications that this could very realistically go down. I'll lay out the two biggest ones, and you can add your own (or dispute mine) in the comments.

Only Eyes For Yu
The Twins have been openly connected to Darvish throughout the offseason, and GM Thad Levine hasn't been shy about his pursuit. But there've been few other substantive rumors tying Minnesota to any other prominent free agents. A rumbling of trade buzz here and there, sure, but despite their outward interest in adding a frontline starter, the Twins have been conspicuously silent in relation to other free agent starters like Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn.

Meanwhile, they've been operating as a team that's gearing up for a big spend. Fernando Rodney and Zach Duke were both low-dollar one year commitments. The Twins have added around $7 million in salary by signing them, but offset part of it by shedding ByungHo Park's contract.

So right now they are treading water below $100 million in committed payroll, at a time where they're making their contention push in earnest.

Darvish in No Hurry
Last week it was reported that Darvish's and his reps had yet to meet with the Twins front office, and that the two sides "don't see it as necessary -- not yet anyway."

Many took this as a sign the Twins aren't really in the running for Darvish. We're headlong into January now and there hasn't even been a meeting? Sounds unpromising.

But, in my irrationally and unfoundedly optimistic state, I'm clinging to the hypothetical premise I laid out in the forums here at Twins Daily last month:

"Here's what is playing out right now – from my hopeful view:

Levine has a good enough relationship with Darvish and his agent that the two sides have kept an open line of communication. Thad signaled early on that his interest was very serious, and Darvish's camp indicated that the interest was mutual.

So over the past couple of weeks, Darvish has been meeting with other legit suitors to hear their pitches and receive their offers. Now he'll be able to go into a meeting with the Twins knowing full well what else is out there, and what his options are. Meanwhile, Levine will know exactly what kind of bids he's up against.

No matter how you look at it, I think Minnesota meeting with Darvish later in the process rather than earlier almost has to be viewed as a good thing... as long as it actually happens."

It was a shot in the dark at the time, but nothing that's happened since has made it feel any less plausible.

Darvish has met with the Cubs. He's met with the Astros. Neither of those engagements resulted in remotely immediate action, and the Yankees seem to be distantly waiting for the righty's price to drop.

The Twins are said to be prepared to offer a "market deal" to Darvish. And as it happens, through all of his courting elsewhere, the realities of his market have become pretty much solidified.

It's clear that Minnesota is at least interested in a meeting with Darvish. And while jaded Twins fans love to opt toward the ol' "he's just not that into you" quip, it's kinda silly to think he'd actually be opposed to linking up, given that he evidently hasn't been blown away by any other suitors.

It's almost as though Darvish is biding his time, content in the knowledge that his destination is set, and a meeting is merely a formality.

What say you?

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210 Comments

Nick, It seems that you are either experiencing an ephinal satori or H2N3 delirium. Here’s hoping for satori
    • USAFChief, glunn, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this
I endorse this analysis. Or at least the rationale behind it. I don't have anything to add, although I should get in a preemptive "his contract is an albatross that will prevent the Twins from signing Royce Lewis to a long term deal" comment, a few years early.
    • glunn, nytwinsfan and Original Whizzinator like this

It would be great to sign Darvish. But if he does sign, and helps take the Twins to a World Series, he will have to pitch in said Series, and I can't say I look forward to that.

 

And while I desperately want the Twins to sign a pitcher with the status and talent of a Darvish, I guarantee that, by the end of the contract, they will regret the signing. 

    • glunn likes this

If nothing else, you've created a nice narrative here that makes me want to believe.

    • glunn and Tomj14 like this

 

It would be great to sign Darvish. But if he does sign, and helps take the Twins to a World Series, he will have to pitch in said Series, and I can't say I look forward to that.

 

And while I desperately want the Twins to sign a pitcher with the status and talent of a Darvish, I guarantee that, by the end of the contract, they will regret the signing. 

Not disagreeing with your 2nd paragraph but why in the world would you not look forward to Darvish pitching in the World Series? 

    • Steve Lein, glunn, Jerr and 9 others like this

 

Not disagreeing with your 2nd paragraph but why in the world would you not look forward to Darvish pitching in the World Series? 

 

 

???

 

..... because I saw him pitch in the last one? and one could say that the high priced rental, and sticking with him, cost the Dodgers the World Series. You must have watched, no?

You had me until you said "market deal". Perhaps I am jaded by years of MN sports history, but when one lists the Twins, Astros, and Cubs in the hunt, it doesn't seem a market deal will suffice.
    • KirbyDome89 likes this
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TwinsWonWithHunter
Jan 09 2018 06:49 AM

This is probably the first time I have ever suggested that the Twins do not spend money, but I am against signing Darvish. I don't think he is worth $200 million.

 

There are only a handful of true aces in all of baseball. Verlander, Scherzer, Bumgarner. An argument could be made for one or two others.

 

In (relative) recent history, we have had aces in 1987-1988, 1991, and 2004-2007. These horses just don't come around often. 

 

But then you have this next tier of "top of the rotation" guys --not aces, but guys that fit into the "1" slot on a staff. Darvish qualifies as that. But he is not appreciably better than the other available starters out there. All of whom, Arietta excepting, will command far less money.

 

Meaning, at the end of the day, if we get Alex Cobb for five years, we will look back at having made a sound investment if he can win 65 games in that time. No one can reasonably argue that Darvish would win any more than that. But Cobb will come cheaper.

 

This is a long way of saying that, as long as the Twins refuse to announce what their upcoming season's payroll will be - which they have never done - we can only assume that it will be modest. So it is tough to advocate for supreme top dollar unless that player is a True Ace or a generational talent.

 

So I am not on the Darvish train, for the Twins, as a free agent signing.  

    • Dantes929 and rv78 like this

I totally agree. Not a big fan of Darvish and would rather see them go after Cobb or Lynn. They will give the Twins what they need and be much cheaper. Ervin Santana was not a top pitcher at the time they signed him and he has been a solid investment.Avoid the big money free agents that usually end up in busts and go after the next tier free agents like a Cobb or Lynn. I would not be very happy if they cannot afford to spend money on some of their young talent they have now tying them to longer term contracts if they overspend for Darvish. As far as I know he doesn't come with a guarantee that he'll take us to the WS. 

    • Dantes929 and TwinsWonWithHunter like this
4/120 - yes
5/140 - yes
5/150 - reasonable, but I’m getting uneasy.
6/155 - yes
6/165 - I could talk myself into it.
6/175 - pass, but I’ll be sad
6/200 - run!
    • Carole Keller, glunn, Jerr and 8 others like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Jan 09 2018 07:26 AM

1) The GM's of TD must all agree that the Twins need better starting pitching. We have been writing this for as long as I have been reading TD. 2) Darvish will most likely improve the starting pitching for the Twins. I say "most likely" because the future is not certain for any of us and even less certain for major league starting pitchers, who violently fling baseballs, resulting in all kinds of problems for their arms, backs, necks, and legs. 3) There are several ways of getting a #1 starting pitcher: a) develop him through the draft and minor leagues and patience. Let me ask a question here: Even with numerous top draft picks in recent years, I ask Question #1: How has that worked out for the Twins the last 10 years? or :cool: Trade for a #1 pitcher, which involves the same injury risks PLUS the Twins lose some good prospects and good players, who may have Hall of Fame careers with other teams, thereby causing us Twins fans to post laments and regrets about "what might have been" for the next 10 years. I ask Question #2: How has that worked out for the Twins the last 10 years? or c) Sign a consensus top ranked free agent, starting pitcher, which is something I don't remember the Twins ever doing. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This is my argument about why the Twins need to sign Darvish. Let's get off the porch and run with the big dogs. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Take the high ground! Charge!

    • glunn, Riverbrian, beckmt and 8 others like this
Falvey and Levine seem like logical men. It seems completely logical to me, that if you sign Darvish, you trade for Archer (unless the asking price is just completely over the top). Signing Darvish opens the door and with a little prospect luck could move you toward WS contention. Doing both flings that door wide open and gives you a legit 4 year window of WS contention.
    • glunn, bteichr, Twins33 and 7 others like this
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Tommygun921
Jan 09 2018 07:36 AM
I've been thinking all along that they could legitimately sign him. I thought they'd shock the baseball world and sign Otani and Darvish. But that didn't happen. That being said I don't think Darvish will live up to a contract that's anything more than 3 maybe 4 years. Which is what it's gonna take to sign him. If he'd sign for 4 years with the twins for "market value" then I'd be good with the signing. Otherwise I don't think he'll live up to it. I'd love to see the twins be aggressive on the starting pitching front while they're on the rise. Instead of squandering the prime years of their offense like they did during the 2000s.
    • jrod23 likes this

 

I've been thinking all along that they could legitimately sign him. I thought they'd shock the baseball world and sign Otani and Darvish. But that didn't happen. That being said I don't think Darvish will live up to a contract that's anything more than 3 maybe 4 years. Which is what it's gonna take to sign him. If he'd sign for 4 years with the twins for "market value" then I'd be good with the signing.

I agree here.  

 

I found this article on the ESPN.Not sure if it's kosher to post the link, but I'll try.It's all about signing pitchers long-term.Jayson Stark wrote it after the Max Scherzer signing in Washington back in '15.

 

http://www.espn.com/...ers-big-trouble

 

Two years into that contract and Scherzer is looking like he's making good.However, I can't comprehend signing a pitcher, any pitcher, to a 6-7 year deal after the age of 30.Pitchers know the risk of their position and want the longest deal possible, but why should they get it?

 

I want Darvish, but just because the going long-term rate may be 6-7 years, doesn't mean he should get it...from any team.4-5 year deal, I'm alright with.

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clutterheart
Jan 09 2018 08:22 AM

I believe Flavine can't be as lackadaisical as they appear to be, so they must be following some incomprehensible master-plan that ends in Darvish (or some other good pitcher) being a Twin.  

 

Right???

Please?

    • tarheeltwinsfan and gagu like this
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JaleelWhite FanClub
Jan 09 2018 08:30 AM

Would much rather see the Twins get an ace via trade. Go get Archer or Cole for less money. In the next two years the club is going to see a log jam of prospects ready to graduate to the Twins in the middle infield and in the middle or at the back end of the rotation.

 

We all love prospects and cringe at losing players we've seen develop through the minors, but a progressive-thinking, winning organization has to see minor league development as a tool to not only supplement the big league roster, but to acquire talent outside the organization.

    • Hosken Bombo Disco and howieramone2 like this

tenor.png

    • Jerr, Twins33, TheLeviathan and 5 others like this

 

It would be great to sign Darvish. But if he does sign, and helps take the Twins to a World Series, he will have to pitch in said Series, and I can't say I look forward to that.

It's been widely reported that Darvish was tipping his pitches.I'm confident he'll do just fine if the Twins make it to the series.

    • bteichr, RaymondLuxuryYacht, gagu and 1 other like this

 

???

 

..... because I saw him pitch in the last one? and one could say that the high priced rental, and sticking with him, cost the Dodgers the World Series. You must have watched, no?

Well, first of all if we see Darvish pitch for the Twins in the WS it must mean the Twins made it to the WS, no? Kershaw has been Klyle Gibson like in the past postseasons.If we got him would you not look forward to watching him in the WS? Broncos lost 3 Super Bowls with Elway. Would you have said "hey, not looking forward to seeing him in another Super Bowl"? I'm not saying I want the Twins to sign Darvish but if they do I am not worried about how he might do in the WS.

    • Steve Lein, glunn, pbrezeasap and 9 others like this

I'm not a typical Minnesota Debbie Downer.I believe this FO is smart and will put this organization on a winning track for years to come.However, is anyone else concerned about committing the kind of money Darvish is reportedly asking for?The TJ surgery aside, he has become a 6-inning pitcher, albeit a good one.I'm not saying, I'm just asking if anyone else questions whether that type of pitcher is worth that kind of money.  

    • terrydactyls1947, jrod23 and Original Whizzinator like this
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Nick Nelson
Jan 09 2018 09:10 AM

 

It's been widely reported that Darvish was tipping his pitches.I'm confident he'll do just fine if the Twins make it to the series.

He was also pitching against the best offense in baseball, at the tail of a season where he logged 197 total innings -- his most since 2013. Proclaiming that Darvish is a choke artist on the big stage is pretty flimsy, especially considering how brilliantly he pitched in the NLDS and NLCS. 

    • Steve Lein, luckylager, glunn and 15 others like this

 

4/120 - yes
5/140 - yes
5/150 - reasonable, but I’m getting uneasy.
6/155 - yes
6/165 - I could talk myself into it.
6/175 - pass, but I’ll be sad
6/200 - run!

 

I would say hard pass if he gets higher than 6/165.Anything more than that is just absurd.I would much rather go after two lower level guys like Lynn and Cobb who are going to produce good results but be one hell of a lot cheaper. 

 

My fear is that Darvish is going to cost much closer to 6/200 and may even demand a seventh year depending on how badly the Astros, Yankees and Cubs want him, which would be utterly ludicrous.That is WAY out of the Twins price range IMO and i'd say pass and not think twice about it.Let them nuke it out for him and max themselves out in the process. If the Twins are going to spend that kind of money go after Kershaw in 2019.He's already getting paid 33 million a year.

 

Question about Darvish's world series troubles.Didn't the Astros figure out he was tipping pitches which is part of the reason he was hit so hard?Not making excuses just asking the question.  

I think the twins best offer will be 5 years 145-150.In my projections for the year I said I didn't think the twins would make a big signing, but the longer this plays out, in my mind the higher percentage that the Twins may be able to pull it off. The twins have made it very clear they don't want to go to 6 years, so we are left with a 5 year offer, I just don't see any of the other teams willing to really spend this year, seem to be saving their money for next years FA class.The Yankees if they become interested would be the only possibility that could try overpay to get him, but I think Cashman will be very selective in who he is willing to spend big money on. 

 

That leaves the Twins, hoping they can pull off a reasonable deal to get a middle to low end #1 starter. This is one of the few years in the last 5 or so that I think the rates will be much more reasonable and give more middle market teams a chance to make a big move, that won't completely hamper future moves. 

 

My questions are I think he will have the stuff that can last into later years, but can he go back to a normal windup and also the stretch, rather than his current set up which is a blend of the two, and also make sure he is not tipping pitches.In the WS it was obvious he didn't have his best stuff, but when hitters know what it coming they are more likely to knock him around.  

    • Don Walcott likes this

One thing you didn't mention Nick is that the Twins wouldn't have to give up draft capital to get Darvish, as opposed to some of the other top FA starters.Just another reason why they may be willing to pony up more for Darvish than we might be used to seeing from a Twins FO.

    • Steve Lein, glunn, Twins33 and 6 others like this
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nicksaviking
Jan 09 2018 09:43 AM

I think the Twins are going to get lucky and snag him on a reasonable deal while most of the big clubs shed payroll and bid their time for the 2019 class. The Twins know they can't participate with the crazy money that 2019 will throw around and at that time plenty of teams are going to look back just 12 months and think about how free agents in 2018 went for peanuts despite what the perception was at the time.

 

But I bet the Twins hook him with an opt out after year two or three, so they better not get too self satisfied, there's still plenty of work to do if they want to win a title in that window, Darvish alone doesn't make this club one of the favorites in the AL.

    • glunn likes this

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