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Yu Darvish was just kidding about the Yankees paying Masahiro Tanaka too much

Feb 18, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros in the second inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Houston Reuters

UPDATE: Darvish says he was just joking around about the Tanaka comments and apparently both Darvish and his interpreter were laughing as he said the quotes, although as you can see below that bit of context was oddly left out by several reporters on hand.


Yu Darvish was asked today what he thought of the Yankees signing Masahiro Tanaka out of Japan for $155 million and his answer is sure to fire up a lot of New Yorkers:

By comparison, Darvish got $56 million to sign with the Rangers two offseason ago, but Texas also had to send his old team in Japan another $51.7 million in posting fees. In two years in the majors he’s thrown 401 innings with a 3.34 ERA, including a league-leading 277 strikeouts and a 2.83 ERA in 210 innings last season.

Which is why when Darvish also said today that his success–and the success of several other prominent Japanese pitchers recently–helped get Tanaka a bigger contract he’s no doubt right.

  1. chacochicken - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    That’s just the old Hokkaido Nippon Ham-Fighters vs. The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles rivalry right there.

    • captainwisdom8888 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      nah thats just plain jealousy

      • bendover09 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        Darvish has already made over 250 million alone just from his playing days in Japan. I hardly doubt he is jealous

      • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:44 PM

        Hey I love that screen name bendover09, that’s some good stuff there lol

      • captainwisdom8888 - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:52 AM

        it doesnt matter how much he made in the past. at all. when another guy comes in whose never thrown a pitch in the MLB and hes getting paid significantly more than you. Than one can exhibit signs of envy and jealousy

        in what other context of emotion would that fall under? Ask yourself why someone would make that kind of comment. If darvish feels he is a better athlete than tanaka (who he knows well), then he is going to be jealous that tanaka is being compensated more heavily than him

        Is he angry? No. Is he sad? No thats silly. Is he thinking objectively and estimating tanakas worth to be less? No thats not what athletes do.


        In the back of his mind he knows if Tanaka came before him and the roles were reversed, hed be getting the payday. And despite having immense wealth already, hes a competitive guy! He doesnt want Tanaka to make more than him

        (Psych Class is over kids)….carry on

  2. uyf1950 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    “Which is why when Darvish also said today that his success–and the success of several other prominent Japanese pitchers recently–helped get Tanaka a bigger contract he’s no doubt right.” That’s probably true but it certainly didn’t hurt Tanaka to have the track record he had with his club and his record setting performance in 2013 the year he’s going to become a FA.

    In reality I think most would have to blame or thank Bud Selig depending on one’s preference for changing the posting system as probably the biggest reason for the increase in cost to sign Tanaka.

    • phisticuffs - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:46 PM

      The cost didn’t increase (any more than MLB salaries continue to escalate), but the allocation between player and team did. Under the old system, his team would have made another $40-60 million, at Tanaka’s expense.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 18, 2014 at 6:44 PM

        The cost probably did increase a bit. Traditionally the player(s) have signed for about the same amout of dollars as the MLB team had to pay the players Japanese team. So for example if the Yankees won the bidding under the old system for say $70MM Tanaka in all likelihood would have signed with the Yankees for roughly that amount which would have brought the total to $140MM instead of the combined $175MM it turned out to be because of the change in the posting system by MLB. If that $70MM I mentioned under the old system wasn’t to his liking he would have gone back to Japan empty handed and had to wait another year.

  3. nyyankeefanforever - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Interesting take from a guy who only won one Sawamura Award on a guy who won two of them. Sour grapes.

    • tuberippin - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      I, too, track the number of Sawamura awards won by a given player before I comment on that player’s worth. Just one? Pssh. Amateur hour.

      • nyyankeefanforever - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        Tanaka not only won it twice, he beat out Darvish for his first one. Pot meet kettle.

      • tuberippin - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        What’s your point? We both know the hitting in MLB is on a different competitive level than that of the NPB. Beyond that, a number of pitchers who won Sawamura Awards in the past came over to the MLB and were terrible. Kenshin Kawakami (won it in 2004), Kei Igawa (split it in 2003), Daisuke Matsuzaka (won it in 2001).

        And if we’re running on the logic that more = better, then consequently Koji Uehara would be better than Yu Darvish, given that Uehara won two Sawamura Awards during his time in the NPB (1999 and 2002). I hope you’re not trying to make that argument, because in this instance it’s asinine.

      • nyyankeefanforever - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        My only point was that Yu has been in Tanaka’s shadow before, in the hardware department and now in the salary department; and may likely have been a factor in his salary comment. If you don’t think that’s a relevant observation, fine and have a nice day. Sheesh.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:02 PM

        Darvish probably should have 2 anyway. Outside of wins, he had a better year than Hisashi Iwakuma.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:02 PM

        “Darvish probably should have 2 anyway. Outside of wins, he had a better year than Hisashi Iwakuma.”

        Meant to say better 2008.

      • rje49 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:12 PM

        So what!

  4. djlexluger - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    Players should never talk about others players money.

  5. lucasblack12 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    Darvish left 3 seasons ago that’s probably why your boy tanaka got to even claim those few awards, c’mon yanksfanforever, your favorite team has a history of overpaying people don’t act like what he said isn’t true.

    • nyyankeefanforever - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      Time to buy a new calendar Lucas. He beat out Darvish for his first Sawamura.

      • rje49 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        All your talk means NOTHING. The only thing that matters is how your guy pitches in the next few years. We shall see.

    • uyf1950 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      My friend if I recall reports had it that the Rangers submitted under the old system that was $20 to $30MM higher then the next highest bid to the Japanese team. So it would appear that the Yankees aren’t the ONLY team to overpay for players.

  6. gibbskins9 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    Not that I really care what Darvish says or thinks, however, New York/Texas is completely different for taxes, especially state taxes, Texas has none, if my math is correct with taxes and agent fees Tanaka is only making 40 cents on every dollar still a lot of money but Darvish may still be making more.
    They both should try real life and just STFU, your playing a game.

    • nyyankeefanforever - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      Well said. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a ballplayer rise to the bait to comment on another player’s salary before. Yu certainly got suckered on thatg one. Should make their next meeting interesting though.

    • braddavery - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      Why did you say they “both” should STFU?

      • nyyankeefanforever - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:31 PM

        LOL….pretty sure he meant all players. Good point though Brad. 😉

  7. bronxbomber213 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    So basically what I read is this….Yu Darvish thinks Yu Darvish should have waited til 2014 to come to the MLB and get overpaid for.

    • billybawl - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      This. If Darvish sincerely isn’t familiar with the new posting system, he should be sitting down when someone explains it to him.

  8. rmithlo - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    For once, I gotta disagree when someone talks about a Yankee. Tanaka got paid well, especially if he winds up becoming Kei Igawa 2.0.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      He certainly got paid well for a #3 starter.

      • nyyankeefanforever - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        Darvish started out as the Rangers’ #4 starter. Obviously, expectations were (and are) higher for both.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        Well said. Tanaka is just an injury or 2 from being a top of the rotation starter in NY.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:45 PM

        and the jays are a injury away from having Mark Buerhle as their #1 starter so whats your point besides nothing as usual?

  9. chip56 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    The Yankees didn’t commit all that much more money to Tanaka than the Rangers did to Darvish in the grand scheme of contract explosions – the difference is that Tanaka gets to keep more of the money than Darvish did.

    If Yu wants to be bitter about that fact then he should go ahead and man up enough to admit that that’s his problem. I’m sure there were lots of good, young MLB established pitchers who thought the Rangers overpaid for Darvish considering he had done diddly poo in the majors.

  10. beastmode5150 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    Translated that means not enough.

  11. cmoney4949 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    Yankees have ruined competitiveness in baseball.

    Hopefully, he will get bombed and the contract will be a waste just like Aroid’s is and MLB won’t be able to bail the yankees out with a suspension this time.

    • nyyankeefanforever - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:09 PM

      Alex helped us win a ring, and a year of his salary is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount the Yankees mean to other franchises in road ticket sales, merchanidsing and revenue sharing. Cool story though. Keep drinking that haterade! 😉

      • cmoney4949 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        is the one ring worth over $330 million they paid to a cheater?? He lied constantly to all baseball fans saying he didn’t use PEDs. It looks like you need to keep drinking the kool aid to be able to cheer for a team that has almost ruined baseball with these crazy high contracts so they can make up for their lack drafting/ scouting since the early nineties.

      • nyyankeefanforever - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        My name’s not Steinbrenner and it’s not my money, cmoney, so I could care less what he gets paid or doesn’t get paid. Never understood why anyone cares what ballplayers get paid anyway. The only peeps who seem to get upset about it are the ones with cheap owners who pocket the profits instead of investing them in the product on the field. Newsflash: There are no poor owners, only cheap ones. Welcome to Capitalism 101.

      • karlkolchak - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        Who’s “us,” Kemosabe? I highly doubt the Yankees gave you a ring.

    • djpostl - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      Boo hoo.

      Meanwhile, the Mariners handed out by far the biggest deal of the off-season (and tried desperately to get other FAs to take their money) and the Dodgers have gone around soaking up “bad contracts” like it’s nobody’s business.

      Cry more, we love your tears of unfathomable sadness…

      • cmoney4949 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        another classless yankees fan…

      • djpostl - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        I reiterate. Boo hoo.

        I adore how you completely ignore the factual part of my statement.

        The Mariners did hand out the biggest deal, did attempt to spend a ton more money and the Dodgers have been running around collecting bad/overpriced deals at a rate of about a half dozen per season.

        But don’t let some cold hard facts get in the way of your butthurt whining.

    • chip56 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      Since 2001 9 different MLB franchises have won the World Series where the Yankees are “ruining competitiveness.” Meanwhile over in the NFL where they’ve put in a cap and parity is the word of the day, 9 different franchises have won the superbowl since 2001.

      • cmoney4949 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        they majority of NFL teams all have roughly the same spending on their salaries. The teams that draft good win until their salaries escalate and they have salary cap cuts. there are a few exceptions.

        In baseball 2 teams spent by far more than the remaining 28 teams. Over $50 million more from 2nd most to 3rd most. i know the 3rd most spending team didnt make the playoffs but they were old and injured and played in a few WS when their players were at the beginning of their contracts. The 4th highest won the WS.

        The difference was more than the bottom few teams spend total, so you say they should spend more to keep up? How can they when their good home grown players will be bought by the top teams.

        Everyone is saying cashman is such a good GM. I think my 15 year old son could do the same job if he had the same budget.

      • chip56 - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        If spending money was all it took to make a winner then the Yankees and Dodgers should have been in the World Series this year.

        And if you knew anything about the sport you would realize that good young players are being signed to extensions by the teams that cultivate them. Look at what Atlanta’s doing, what the Mariners did with King Felix, the Reds are about to lock up Homer Bailey, Evan Longoria of the Rays won’t see free agency until he’s in his 30s…

        Teams are developing players and then signing them to long term deals that buy out several of their free agent years. So really your argument was one that could have been made in the late 90s but has no truth at all to it today.

        In other words…shhhhh.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:32 PM

        @ chip56, that’s true what you say about the Braves, Reds, Mariners and Rays locking up some of their players. Do you know what else is true? The Mariners and Rays have never won a World Series and the Braves have only won 3 since 1901 the last one in 1995. As for the Reds their last World Series win was in 1990 before that you have to go back to the Johnny Bench era in Cincinnati in the mid 70’s.

        Heck the Marlins and Jays have won more World Series titles then any of those 4 teams since 1990.

      • chip56 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:37 PM

        What does that have to do with competitive balance?

      • djpostl - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        @cmoney4949 I am sure the fact the NFL rigs the hell out of schdules has nothing t do with their parity, huh?

        They take 2 of your non-conference games each year (1/8th) and make them easier if you had a bad season the year before, harder if you had a good one.

        That would be like MLB coming to the Yankees this season and saying “you had a down year in 2013 so this year we’re taking 20 of your games vs Bos & TB and changing them to ones vs Hou & CWS”

        That is HUGE.

        Additionally, you know what every league that has a salary cap has? A salary minimum, usually right around 70% of the cap.

        Which is why the cheap teams are the ones who kill any talk of it, not the rich ones.

        If we just said last season’s cap was 140M, way below the luxury tax threshold that means the minimum would have been 98M. 16 teams would have had to raise their payroll by anywhere from 5 to 74M dollars.

        No way the small to mid-market owners will do that. They prefer to keep the system as it is, draw revenue sharing checks from the bigger fracnhsies, cash in luxury tax checks from those that go over the soft cap and publicly bitch about how “they can’t compete with the big market teams” because schleps like you soak it up.

        In EVERY category MLB has been more competitive the last two decades.

        – Most different WS winners.
        – Most different playoff participants (despite having the fewest number of teams making the playoffs each season).
        – Most number of teams who have had more winning seasons than losing season over that span.

        MLB doesn’t have a parity problem. You have a perception problem.

        No matter which way you decide to cut it

    • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:51 PM

      cmoney let me get you some cheese for that whine! OMG I hope at least you are a chick whining like that!!

  12. beefytrout - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    anyone with an ounce of common sense thinks the Yankees gave him too much money. People thought Darvish was overpaid when he came into the league too.

    • nyyankeefanforever - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      Only people without an ounce of common understanding about the open posting process; NY tax rate; absence of any draft pick/trade baggage and what a controllable pitcher of his age and upside is worth today thinks he’s overpaid.

      • beefytrout - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:21 PM

        would you like to run through that again, with proper grammar?

  13. djpostl - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    Basic economics. Every market is different.

    If Darvish had been posted under the same circumstances where we had a new posting sytem, right after new national TV deals were signed bringing in tons more money, with several big market teams desperate for starting pitching + a couple or rebuilding teams interested in making a splash then he’d have gotten the same deal.

  14. braddavery - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Someone really needs to pinpoint how much Darvish makes per-season in taxless Texas to what Tanaka makes in tax hell New York. I bet it’s not very far off.

    • stex52 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      I should probably point out that if you own a home in Texas it no longer is taxless. You also don’t get the state income exemption on your federal income taxes, which I am sure amounts to a 40% hit on the difference. Plus, half your games are played out of the state.

      Sure, there is a difference, but people make too much of it.

  15. chip56 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Over/under on how long it takes for Darvish to claim that what was quoted isn’t what he meant and that his original message got lost in translation?

  16. clydeserra - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    Context may matter.
    what is that phrase, lost in the trans something something?

  17. musketmaniac - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    nice argument, Haven’t seen enough Asian players to totally understand their talent, but it seems that they are behind the Latin players. who cares what these do in leagues that are equivalent to our single A teams

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:48 PM

      NPB > leagues in Cuba. NPB is generally considered to be equivalent to AAA while the Cuban leagues are A+/AA. Mexican leagues are even lower.

  18. paperlions - Feb 18, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    Baseball reporters…trying to create the news rather than report it by not being honest in presenting the context for a comment? I am shocked.

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