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NBC SportsTalk: Is Yu Darvish worth the price?

Dec 21, 2011, 8:45 AM EDT

I was on NBC SportsTalk last night, talking about Yu Darvish.  Feel free to watch the clip for my analysis of his prospects in the major leagues.

Of course, if you read HBT you’ve read as much, so don’t assume I’m breaking new ground. No, the real reason you should watch it is because I got a new basement set and I think it’s totally hilarious that they call it “HBT Studio” on the screen graphic. We’re one quick conference call away from it saying “Craig’s fortified compound.”

Oh, and I put a Braves helmet in the background so I can represent some famous southeast bias on national TV. Also: Bill James and Jim Bouton books, as well as a copy of the Hardball Times annual.  And my little league glove.

TV is weird.

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  1. pisano - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    We’ll all find out soon enough, but if he’s what he’s hyped to be the Angels and the rest of the AL will be fighting for second place. Texas is the team to beat and if they were to add Prince Fielder (not that don’t have enough offense now ) they can order their rings now.

  2. lewp - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    Good job Craig…..was that yellow book over your left shoulder “Spreadsheets for Idiots” ?

    Love the studio look…..

  3. kopy - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    Next step: Green screen that displays a recorded feed of downtown Columbus during rush hour behind you.

  4. mvpolamalu - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    I find it insane how they pay a fortune just to TALK to him, and then another one to sign him. 130 million seems like to much for this guy.

    • bigmeechy74 - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:46 AM

      You mean TOO much right? To much doesn’t make sense.

      • pellypell - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:47 PM

        Hey buddy, this isn’t Engrish crass, rerax! ROR!

  5. shaggylocks - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Aw man, that poster is so dope.

  6. ncphilliesguy - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    Can someone explain to me why you would spend so much on Darvish and not use that money to retain Wilson? Do they think Darvish is better than Wilson? Really? It seems to me, retain a known quantity, rather than spending more on, really, an unknown.

    • phillyphreak - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:58 AM

      They obviously think that Darvish is better than Wilson. Darvish, according to the reports I’ve seen, is the real deal. He’ll have some adjustments to make sure but should still be pretty dang good.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 21, 2011 at 10:22 AM

      I’m with ncphillies guy here. If you assume Wilson was content in Texas. If you assume he got along well with the rest of the club. If you assume he’d take what the Angels offered to stay in Texas.
      Many people use the playoff failures of Wilson to say he’s not worth it, which relies on a small sample size, which is a mistake imo. Wilson was the seventh best pitcher in baseball in 2011 with a 5.9 WAR as ranked by fangraphs. Defense sure helped him some as his FIP was higher than his era, as were all pitching leaders besides CC Sabathia because of the Yankees infield I presume (strange given their GG shortstop 😉 ). What I’m trying to say is Wilson is the real deal and Darvish is an unknown pitching in the MLB. For a team that claims to be on a tight budget this is kind of shocking to me. They are going to pay much more for a gamble that imo will probably be lucky to be the seventh best pitcher in baseball next season.

      But then again, maybe Wilson didn’t want to be in Texas or vice versa.

      • phillyphreak - Dec 21, 2011 at 10:40 AM

        I didn’t mean to imply that Wilson isn’t a good pitcher. He’s been really good the past two seasons. I just meant that the Rangers value Darvish more. I read on BP yesterday that the Rangers have actually been anticipating this bidding for over a year, so they’ve had plenty of time to do their homework and evaluations. They think Darvish will be the front line starter that CJ WIlson may or may not be. So in their eyes the unknown isn’t as…unknown as we think.

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:02 AM

        Oh, I understand your intent Phreak, and I’m sure that you’re right. The Rangers obviously value Darvish more. I’m just not yet sold on them being right about that. Wilson is still one of the better pitchers in the game right now. And I’m not sure that all that extra money will be worth it. Unless there are other unknown reasons for Texas to not want Wilson or the other way around.

  7. adenzeno - Dec 21, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    I suspect that Wilson may have some shoulder issues in the near future.

    • phillyphreak - Dec 21, 2011 at 10:10 AM

      I suspect that you’ll regale us with why?

  8. neelymessier - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Wilson is 30, with only two years as a starter, following five as a reliever. He’s had a couple of good years. But he is 43-35 with a 3.60 era and 1.29 WHIP for his career. Darvish is unproven in MLB, but he is only 24. Being half Japanese half Iranian has given him a different body type 6’5″ 187 lbs. He throws in the mid 90’s, has great movement, and has pin point control of all of his pitches. This isn’t Dice K who walked so many hitters it seemed he was pitching out of a jam almost every inning, plus he couldn’t go deep in innings because of his high pitch counts.

    Wilson got five years for 77.5 mil. He parlayed two seasons as a starter into $15 mil per year until he is 35. Good haul for him. The Rangers decided if they were going to roll dice, they were looking for a pitcher that could give them 10 good years, and a 24 year old is more likely to do that. Doubters won’t be satisfied until they see Darvish toss 30-32 starts and do well.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM

      You hit the nail on the head with this. “Doubters won’t be satisfied until they see Darvish toss 30-32 starts and do well.” You make a good point for them wanting to roll the dice with Darvish as well.

  9. miketreedy - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    I think Ryan became a little frustrated with CJ not attacking hitters. This was especially the case during the playoffs where he issued lots of walks. They also felt there was too much risk going 5 years with him. He did pitch well the past two years. He was also a good fit being in Arlington because his conditioning program. He was able to put up lots of innings in the Texas heat which is huge. I think the Rangers have become one of the best teams at judging talent especially pitchers. So as a Rangers fan you have to feel confident in their decision making. They had a scout at every one of Darvish’s games last year so they certainly did their homework. Plus signing a player like this brings lots of attention to the Rangers both here in US & Japan. In Japan from what I understand Darvish is a rock star at a level similar to Michael Jordan. That obviously doesn’t guarantee success here. The Rangers though also will provide him top teachings from Ryan, Mike Maddux & Greg Maddux to help him succeed. Congrats Rangers!

  10. lewp - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    I have followed the Rangers for many years.

    Here is the way CJ was appreciated in Texas:

    See CJ pitch?

    See CJ get behind in the count time after time?

    CJ walked another batter.

    See the opposing team get 2 on with no outs?

    See CJ walk yet another? CJ is now in the World Series? Think he can pitch out of a jam? No, CJ created jams….

    See CJ go home to California? Ranger fans are happy now….

    I don’t know how much more plain we have to say it….we need pitchers who can get batters out!

    • djpostl - Dec 21, 2011 at 1:33 PM

      Yeah, CJ thrived in the regular season, particularly against bottom tier teams, but he was as useful as a screen door on a submarine in the post-season.

      Along the same lines though, don’t make Ogando a starter. He is no different. His splits last year were crazy bad. ERA over 13.50 vs Red Sox, 12.20 vs Yankees, 7.30 vs Rays and so on. Definitely a bottom feeder as a starter.

      Way I see it Texas has three high risk, high reward starters going into 2012 with You, Ogando (hey, until he can show he won’t get shelled vs good teams as a starter he is high risk imo) and the Feliz experiment.

  11. djpostl - Dec 21, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    The guy absolutely has the highest upside of any SP on the market, trade candidates included, but he also represents the highest risk.

    In the end it comes down to the old adage, “don’t gamble any more than you can afford to lose”. Texas has money (though they also have a ton of their younger players hitting either arbitration years or straight free agency over the next two years) to spend so it is most likely a gamble worth taking.

    As for how well it turns out, all we can do is wait & see.

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