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The Twins should sign Yu Darvish, regardless of price

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#1 mazeville

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 09:12 AM

In their bid to build a pitching staff, the Twins signed three pitchers to multi-year deals in 2013 and 2014: Phil Hughes, Ricky Nolasco and Ervin Santana. Only one of those was a true success. 

 

A .333 average might be good for baseball. It is not good for major, multi-million-dollar free-agent signings.

 

That's a good thing to keep in mind when the Twins consider signing Yu Darvish to a potential five-year contract worth $150 million or more. Long contracts to older pitchers are risky, and could backfire, especially toward the back end of any deal.

 

And yet I think the Twins should sign Darvish, anyway. I think they should give him the full five years and $150 million. And I think they should celebrate that signing mightily. 

 

Yes, that would be a costly deal that could hurt the team down the line. Yes, the Twins are a mid-market team that can't absorb a bad contract like the Yankees or Dodgers or Cubs can. But, they should do this for three reasons:

 

1. They need a starter that's at least equal to Santana, who is likely to regress this year.

 

2. They would not have to give up anything to get him. If the Twins were to trade for Chris Archer, they'd have to trade away young players. I'd rather keep those young players to make other trades.

 

3. The Twins need to sign Darvish for PR reasons. This is actually the most important reason.

 

I bet it doesn't take more than five comments before someone responds to this post with the phrase "cheap Pohlads," or some derivative. This team's ownership has a bad reputation. Some of it is well earned. Some of it is unfair. 

 

Spending prudence was required when the team plunged into its long string of 90-plus loss seasons. But the team's young core has emerged. It went to the Wild Card last year. The AL Central could be ripe for the picking with the Cleveland Indians losing Carlos Santana. And the Twins can afford it: They have money coming off the books in the next couple of years. Now is not the time for prudence. Now is the time for going all-in.

 

Mostly, this team and its management needs to show fans that they are willing to spend when necessary. And while it might not be a great idea to spend $150 million on a pitcher who will be in his mid-30s at the end of the deal, it would still be a great sign of faith to the fan base that has endured an awful lot of losing before last year. Doing so would go a long way toward ridding this team of its cheap heritage. 

 

Of course, if the Twins don't, and if they continue to operate with a middling budget despite the presence of Target Field, they will continue to face questions about ownership's willingness to spend on talent. Yes, this team has spent millions building its front office -- which is highly commendable. But until this team spends on the on-field product, that reputation will remain.

 

And the Pohlads, who tried contracting the team less than two decades ago, have earned that reputation.

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#2 Doomtints

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 09:33 AM

Darvish has too many injury concerns. If it were me, I would not sign him.

 

For all we know, the mutual "interest" is a favor the Twins are giving their friend to boost his market value. There is no indication the parties have spoken in any serious way.

 

Ask yourself this... who has been the better pitcher over the past two years ... Ervin Santana or Yu Darvish? The answer might surprise you. Now ask yourself again why this contract would make sense.

 

For fun, look at the 2018 projections on Baseball Reference for Santana and Darvish.

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#3 mazeville

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 10:15 AM

Fabulous. But I still say Santana is more likely to regress than he is to improve given his age. If he doesn't, great! But the Twins need some downside protection.

 

Santana's last couple of years have been great. But he has a much higher career ERA. He is four years older. And Darvish strikes out a lot more batters. 

 

But this isn't about Santana. It's about adding the top pitcher available on the market. Darvish is a more valuable pitcher than Santana. Would it cost a lot? Yep. But the Twins should make the deal.


#4 Doomtints

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 10:32 AM

Why can't both of them regress? Baseball-Reference thinks they will.

 

At Santana's salary, he can regress a lot and still be "valuable." What about Darvish regressing on a top tier salary and long-term contract?

Edited by Doomtints, 26 January 2018 - 10:33 AM.

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#5 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 10:48 AM

2. They would not have to give up anything to get him. If the Twins were to trade for Chris Archer, they'd have to trade away young players. I'd rather keep those young players to make other trades.
 

I know this thread is about Darvish, but who better to trade prospects for than a very good pitcher like Archer with team control?
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#6 amjgt

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 10:52 AM

I'm sick of all this "Santana is going to regress" talk. No kidding he's going to regress. The Twins paid $13.5M last year for a guy that finished 7th in the AL Cy Young vote and one of the guys that finished above him was a reliever.

 

What are the odds he regresses? Pretty darn good, I'd say. But how much? And wouldn't a small regression still make him a pretty darn good #2 option? Maybe even still an OK #1 option?

 

Some might point to the Twins defense as a reason why he outperformed his peripherals and got Cy Young votes. Do we expect that to regress? I wouldn't. If it does, it would be barely.

 

So either his performance was a crazy personal outlier and it's bound to fall off the cliff, or his performance wasn't that big of an outlier because it was largely buoyed by another factor that probably will not regress (the defense)

 

I'd lean to option 2.

 

Also, why can't any pitcher we sign (Darvish please) also have their numbers buoyed by the Twins defense. 

 

 

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#7 Mike Sixel

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 10:55 AM

I have never understood fans worrying about the team spending efficiently. They have money. They have needs. There are 3-4 pitchers that could help. Next year, those arguing not to spend will point out all the flaws of next year's class. I guess I just don't get why people think it is better for them as fans if owners pocket money, and don't try to make the team better. We just come from different votes, I guess.

Edited by Mike Sixel, 26 January 2018 - 10:55 AM.

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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#8 spycake

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 11:03 AM

 

Ask yourself this... who has been the better pitcher over the past two years ... Ervin Santana or Yu Darvish? The answer might surprise you. Now ask yourself again why this contract would make sense.

Because we can't clone 2016-2017 Ervin Santana?

 

Also, this exaggerates the difference in their recent performance record. Darvish was every bit as effective as the great Ervin in 2016 (pitching in a pennant race no less), it's just he was returning from TJ so he missed much of the first half of the season.

 

In 2017, Ervin was better overall, although Darvish wasn't a slouch -- 118 ERA+ versus 134 for Ervin.Both were named all-stars (Darvish's 4th appearance in 4 tries when healthy). Darvish also had the edge in FIP.

 

Not to make excuses, but Darvish was also pitching under some unusual circumstances in 2017 -- first full season back from TJ, out of the pennant race and getting shopped by Texas (note Darvish's 2 worst starts both came in July), and then changing leagues for the first time going to LA. And for as much as he notably struggled in the World Series, he was brilliant in both the NLDS and NLCS (partially masked by LA's quick bullpen hook).

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#9 spycake

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 11:18 AM

Furthermore, Ervin is 4 years older than Darvish, so having Ervin under contract for 2 more years doesn't really mean signing Darvish for ~5 doesn't make sense. In fact, it would seem an optimal time for their contracts to overlap, especially given the Twins SP prospect situation.

 

And to those who express concern over Darvish's health and durability, but marvel at Ervin's, note that Ervin has 6 seasons of topping 200 innings in MLB, and Darvish has a combined 5 between MLB and Japan.Darvish would add a 6th in MLB if we counted postseason innings, plus a 7th finishing at 198. Ervin would add a 7th if we considered postseason and minor league innings.The only real statistical difference from my vantage point is that Darvish went under the knife for TJ -- which is obviously worthy of concern, but not necessarily a dealbreaker in modern MLB.Especially not with how Darvish has apparently responded so far (123 ERA+, 6.4 bWAR in 48 starts across 1.5 seasons since returning).

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#10 Mike Sixel

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 11:21 AM

Darvish pitched the 24th most innings in MLB last year.....I have no idea why 200 is some mythical number still.....

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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#11 mazeville

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 12:07 PM

 

I know this thread is about Darvish, but who better to trade prospects for than a very good pitcher like Archer with team control?

 

I would not mind that. I just think that it would be better to sign someone like Darvish -- especially just to prove that they're willing to spend.

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#12 TheLeviathan

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 12:32 PM

I wouldn't say "regardless", but no dollar figure thrown out so far would scare me away.

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#13 Riverbrian

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 02:19 PM

 

 

 

Ask yourself this... who has been the better pitcher over the past two years ... Ervin Santana or Yu Darvish? The answer might surprise you. Now ask yourself again why this contract would make sense.

 

 

 

I've done what you have asked and it makes me feel good about Ervin Santana... Thank you for that. I'm asking myself again if this Darvish contract makes sense and my answer is: Yes... Perfect Sense. 

 

Put the algorithms away. This is free agency. The price of a player isn't determined by stats alone. It is determined by how much someone is willing to pay. 

 

Santana cost 4 years and 55 million. That contract will most likely not bring Darvish in the door this year. 

 

The Twins wanted Santana and they paid the price tag. 

 

If the Twins want Darvish they must pay the price tag. 

 

Trying to use Santana's 4 Years and 55 million as some sort of barometer will close the free agent door tight. 

 

It comes down to one simple question. Do you want the player? 

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#14 FormerMinnasotan

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 02:31 PM

I tend to agree we should pay Darvish regardless of price. We could potentially sign Darvish for around what we paid Joe Mauer and so long as the legnth of the contract matches up I doubt imo that he will turn that offer down. I don’t think we will have to pay him $30 million/year to sign him so I don’t think we will be forced to pay him something we can’t offer. I also agree that we need to get a quality arm this off season, especially since I think we have a window of opportunity to win now. In order to do that we need to shore up our rotation, as of now we only have 2 quality starters in Santana and Berrios. To get either Darvish or Arrieta (or to a lesser extent Lynn, Archer, or Cobb) will strengthen our rotation and will allow the bottom two spots to be filled with the likes of Gibson, Mejia, Slegers, Jorge, Gonsalves, and perhaps Romero.

#15 mazeville

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 02:36 PM

There's probably a limit to what the Twins should pay. But personally I think the Twins should view this as an opportunity to show fans they're willing to spend. So perhaps they'd take on another year or spend a bit more than they would have liked.

 

It really would go a long way toward building faith in fans. 


#16 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 05:24 PM

No player should be signed regardless of price but the Twins should certainly stretch to get Darvish.

 

And if that doesn't get it done, it doesn't get it done.

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#17 ahart10

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 05:45 PM

The longer this goes the less I like Darvish or Arrieta and the more I like rolling the dice on the young guns or something like Chris Tillman.
Archer costs too much in a different way, and I don’t think he’s more than a #2. I can’t help but feel like Sonny Gray was the answer.
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#18 Monkeypaws

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 06:14 PM

Such folly is the free agent market when you sign someone for 6 years hoping to get 3 good years out of them.

 

Yeah, it's competition, but like a high-stakes poker table, few can afford to really play.

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#19 spycake

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 08:35 PM

Such folly is the free agent market when you sign someone for 6 years hoping to get 3 good years out of them.


Not sure if it's really folly, just reality. Players aren't robots, their performances are variable.
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#20 Riverbrian

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 08:43 AM

 

Such folly is the free agent market when you sign someone for 6 years hoping to get 3 good years out of them.

 

 

 

They are not hoping for 3 good years... They are hoping for 6 amazing years.

 

They are prepared for the possibility of zero good years.:)

 

 

Also... If that is an example of folly. Then you also have to consider the folly on the other side. 

 

The Angels got 3 years of Mike Trout for a total of 1.4 Million.:)

 

 

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