Well, the bidding is over and the Nippon Ham Fighters totally ignored my advice. They waited until the last possible moment to announce they were accepting the Rangers' $51.7 million posting bid for Yu Darvish. Now the fun begins.
Darvish has been an outspoken critic of the posting system. He says it's unfair to players, and I have to agree, I'm not a fan of it either. There's been some rumblings that, the higher the winning bid, the less likely Darvish would sign with the MLB team that ponied up the cash. He would view his stance as a condemnation of the system and a refusal to play the powers-that-be's little game. Of course, that's why he hired superagent Arn Tellem, right? Let's face it - Tellem didn't get where he is by tilting at windmills. My guess is that he'll knock some sense into Darvish and we'll see him in Ranger blue next year. I also believe that Darvish's favourite colour is green.
Now I'd like to turn my attention to the newly-minted Reds pitching ace, Mat Latos. It's commonly accepted wisdom that if you have the chance to trade for proven performance in exchange for prospects, you make the trade. Exactly how much proven performance Latos brings is up for debate, but the prospect status of Yonder Alsono, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger is beyond dispute.
The general consensus is that the Reds gave up too much in this trade. But that consensus is also predicated on several factors, none of which is a slam-dunk certainty. For example:
- The Reds will lose Joey Votto to free agency, and they just traded away his ready-made replacement.
- Alonso will be happy sitting on the bench waiting for Votto to depart, because the Reds have tried (and failed) to find another place for him.
- Yasmani Grandal will be a better catcher than Devin Mesoraco, and the Reds just traded him away.
- Brad Boxberger will develop into a shutdown major league closer, and the Reds never gave him a chance.
As a side note, I don't count Edinson Volquez in this trade because, frankly, I'm glad to see the back of him. Likewise, I don't count Boxberger because, if projecting a ballplayer's potential is a fool's errand, then the phrase "closer prospect" is downright farcical. The hand-wringing over his inclusion in the trade smacks of lingering regret over Trevor Hoffman's exposure in the 1993(!) expansion draft.
(By the way, yes, I am collecting the 2011 Lineage set)