The will he or won't he posting drama with Yu Darvish ended in October last Fall with a post on the then-24-year-old right-hander's own site in which he refuted rumors which had him headed for the Majors after a 2010 season in which he'd gone (12-8) in 26 games, 25 starts and 202.0 IP in which he walked 47 (2.09 BB/9), struck out 222 (9.89 K/9) and posted a sub-2.00 ERA for the fourth straight season as a starter for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. NBP Tracker's Patrick Newman translated the blog post in which Darvish made his intentions clear:
"Things are being said about the Majors.
I’ve received a lot of comments on my blog and Twitter, but I don’t know if everyone’s predictions are on the mark or what.
I’ll be wearing a Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters uniform."
New York Daily News' writer David Lennon wrote on Twitter (@DPLennon) at the time that, "Yu Darvish bailed on jump to MLB this year because getting divorced. Plans to come to U.S. for '12 season." Darvish remained in Japan, going (18-6) on the season in 2011 with 10 complete games, six shutouts, a 1.44 ERA, 276 K's (10.71 K/9), 36 walks (1.40 BB/9), 5 HR's and 42 runs (37 ER) allowed in 28 starts and 232.0 IP. Throughout the season the rumors persisted, however, most of which had the now-25-year-old starter finally making the leap.
As recently as this weekend, FOXSports.com's Jon Morosi wrote in an article entitled, "Uncertainty persists over star pitcher Darvish", that, "One source with close knowledge of Darvish’s thinking said Friday afternoon it remains 'more likely than not,'" that he'll make the move this winter. As Mr. Morosi pointed out, however, from beginning to end, the posting process took six weeks for Daisuke Matsuzaka when he posted in 2006 which would have Darvish agreeing on a deal in mid-January if he were to start the process today.
One possible explanation for the delay in a decision, oddly enough, might once again be Darvish's impending divorce. In an article by USA Today's Paul White entitled, "Divorce may delay Yu Darvish's major league arrival," Mr. White reported that though no one involved would comment, it's widely known, "That Darvish, 25, and his actress wife Saeko, 27, are involved in divorce proceedings."
SI.com's Joe Lemire too writes in an article entitled, "Darvish could be a star in U.S. -- if he decides to leaves Japan", that, "... it is thought Darvish is more likely than not to post this offseason." Mr. Lemire also quotes current Dodgers' bench coach Trey Hillman, who managed Darvish in Japan, describing, "... his celebrity as a mix of 'Fonzie and Elvis Presley,'" and predicting that Darvish will eventually end up in the majors.
One other sort-of development. The Toronto Blue Jays, whose GM traveled to Japan to see Darvish this past summer, are reportedly "lukewarm" in their interest according to Toronto Sun writer Bob Elliot who wrote on Monday in an article entitled, "Jays target closer Bell", that, "Jays' president Paul Beeston is not a fan of the current posting system in place," and thus less interested than had previously been speculated. Nats' GM Mike Rizzo confirmed earlier this winter that the Washington Nationals' scouts had watched Darvish pitch this season though he hasn't seen him in person in the last two years.
"Yu Darvish, specifically, is a player that has a great talent level," Rizzo told reporters late in October, "We've scouted him over the years, I've scouted him personally over the years, our pro scouts have scouted him this year specifically." The Nationals have also expressed interest in free agent pitchers Mark Buehrle and Roy Oswalt this winter, and with the Winter Meetings coming up next week, the indecision on Darvish's part might cause teams in need of pitching to think twice about spending big money on pitching before the Japanese right-hander declares his intentions.