There is a heck of a lot to unpack in the Yu Darvish world of late. He is waiting for the Yankees and Dodgers to free up money, he has multiple $100 million plus deals on the table, he is holding out for a seven-year deal. I mean… how can he expect a seven-year offer? Has he or his agent paid attention at all this offseason?
Here is the deal… most of this is complete smoke…
It’s a lonely market
There have been a lot of folks talking about collusion in the free agent market. Thus far, it makes some sense, right? In most offseasons, the big-named free agents are signed by Christmas. It is February 1st and there are still over 100 players looking for teams. The reasoning seems to be, the offers have not been near what the players are looking for.
We keep hearing these stories, Jake Arrieta wants six-years, Alex Cobb wants $18 million, Darvish is searching for a seven-year deal worth $175 million. But the offers haven’t been close. Arrieta with $110 million four-year offers. Cobb with three-year $42 million deals. Darvish with five years, $25 a year proposals. It just doesn’t seem to add up.
The fact of the matter is, these guys need the Yankees and Dodgers to be involved. They need them and the Chicago Cubs or Boston Red Sox to be active participants in free agency.
With the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cubs actively pursuing free agents they drive the salaries up. Right now all these free agents have is the Cubs bidding against smaller markets and perhaps themselves. What better way to get someone to bid against themselves than by setting the fear of another big market team getting involved?
This is why you hear Darvish’s agent leaking things like they are waiting for the Yankees and Dodgers to clear up money. This could get the Cubs to increase their offers. Or at least get the Twins, Brewers, Rangers or whoever else might be talking to Yu to increase their offer. I’m surprised Scott Boras hasn’t been trying the same thing with Jake Arrieta or J.D. Martinez.
This hasn’t been a collusion story, it’s been a no one is forcing teams to increase their offers story.
I have little doubt that there is another team that has outbid the Cubs for Yu Darvish. I also think they had the highest bid for both Arrieta and Cobb, but I digress.
The stories of there being additional $100 million-plus offers for Darvish just sound… fake. It sounds just like what is happening in the above scenario – trying to get the Cubs to bid against themselves.
As it stands, why would the Cubs increase their offer? They’ve got to figure they are in the driver’s seat for Yu, and even if they weren’t they have the pick of the litter of the remaining starting pitchers. The offer to Darvish might not be the final offer they give him, and they can handle more salary if needed, but there isn’t a reason to increase it at the moment.
How can Darvish get anyone to increase their offer? Let it slip that there have been multiple teams with similar offers. Mention that they are waiting for the Yankees and Dodgers. Leaking that Darvish is looking for a seven-year offer.
Outside of Justin Upton (who re-signed with the Angels) and Lorenzo Cain, there hasn’t been a contract over three-years. Even Upton and Cain’s five-year offers are shorter than what you might have expected in previous offseasons.
Arrieta and his camp quickly moved off of a seven-year deal early on in free agency, it is strange that Darvish would increase to seven years this late in the game. The only real reason for this to come up now is to hopefully drive his price up.
I see this all the time in sales. As someone who sells business solutions to companies, the companies will often play similar games with me. Bringing “better” lease options, cheaper prices, better solutions, throwing out the idea that they aren’t ready to buy now, whatever else they can do to potentially gain an upper hand in negotiations. These are also things clients say just before they end up signing a contract with me.
This is what is happening in the Yu talks right now. His camp is throwing out as much garbage as possible in their last-ditch effort. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were several days of no news out of Darvish before he eventually signs a deal.
I feel we are a week away from Yu Darvish officially being a Chicago Cub. Once he signs, I fully expect a flood of others to sign.