Mariners may get to see Darvish … with Rangers

Japanese star pitcher Yu Darvish will have 30 days to negotiate with the Texas Rangers, who won the posting bid Monday with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. (Getty Images)

Even though I never heard that the Mariners even so much as posted a bid for Yu Darvish, I’ve got to admit I was thinking right up til the last minute Monday night that maybe, just maybe, Seattle would be a surprising winner in the pursuit of the Japanese pitching star.

Yeah, the Mariners need offense more than another pitcher. And Darvish will carry a high pricetag, likely more than $100 million range by the time his bid and contract are added together.

Nobody was talking much of Seattle, with Toronto and Texas considered the front runners. Turns out that was right, with the Rangers winding up the winner … and the AL West again getting tougher if Texas manages to sign Darvish after its winning bid of a reported $51.7 million.

Should the Mariners have made a pitch for the pitcher? It’s hard to ignore that the Mariners majority owner is Hiroshi Yamauchi, the Japanese founder of Nintendo. And there is more than ample history between the Mariners and Japan, given the presence of Ichiro, Kazuhiro Sasaki and Kenji Johjima on the roster over the past 11 years.

Darvish, 25, is a two-time Pacific League MVP in Japan, where he compiled a 93-38 record with a 1.99 ERA over the past seven seasons.

Thus a bold bid by Seattle perhaps wouldn’t have been totally stunning. But the Mariners are relatively strong in pitching already with Felix Hernandez and 22-year-old All-Star Michael Pineda atop their rotation, while finishing last in the American League in scoring three straight seasons.

On that basis, spending mega-money on their strength would have seemed odd. Then again, Darvish would have further added to a Mariners rotation that could also soon include Danny Hultzen, a 22-year-old lefty who was the second overall pick in last June’s Draft out of Virginia.

Instead, Darvish now has the choice of pitching in the Texas heat or staying in Japan. The Rangers have 30 days to come to come to a contract agreement. If not, the posting fee will be returned by the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and Darvish would be unable to pursue an MLB career until another posting process next year.

Darvish won’t be a free agent able to leave Japan without going through the posting and bid process for two more seasons.

The Red Sox posted a $51 million bid for the rights to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006, then signed him to a six-year, $52 million contract.

Ichiro came at a far lower cost to the Mariners back in 2001, with Seattle giving the Orix Blue Wave a $13 million posting fee before signing him to a three-year, $14 million deal.

The A’s won a reported $19.1 million posting bid a year ago for pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, but then were unable to sign the standout right-hander during the 30-day window. Iwakuma was represented by Don Nomura, the same agent who is working with Darvish.


If the Rangers sign Darvish, and they probably will, they may be willing to deal Colby Lewis. The Mariners want to add a veteran starter to the rotation and Lewis would foot the bill nicely if a deal can be worked out.

This only builds the need to sign Fielder in my book. We can’t just sit back and watch the Angels and Rangers steal everything, we gotta get in the game. We’ll know before years end if Fielder is in an M’s uniform! Then we trade Smoak for a prospect at another position.


I think you are severely undervaluing Justin Smoak. He has the potential to put up Fielder-like numbers and is way better defensively… Plus, he is way cheaper.

Fielder will most likely take up 20 mil a season… Do you really want the Mariners to use over 20% of their player payroll on one person? What happens if Fielder gets hurt right away? If the Mariners can get Prince for a cheaper price somehow and Prince will agree to DH and 1B to give Smoak a rest, that might be worth it…

The Mariners are on the right track to building a long-lasting competitive team, and Mariners fans should not let the recent signings by the Angels and Rangers get them down. The Mariners do not need to sign Fielder.

ZZZZZZZduriencik snoozes while the offseason burns, as usual. The truth is our ownership is broke, and so the team will remain sub-par and attendance will continue to decline. Mariners management consistently violates the prime corporate principle by continuing to engage in wishful thinking as follows:
1. The past-their-prime veterans will play up to their baseball cards.
2. We can get away with playing small ball without a power hitter.
3. The young players will magically become great hitters.
4. We can scrape by with good pitching and lousy hitting.
We’ve needed a proven .300 power hitter since Lou Piniella begged for one in 2003, and we still don’t have one.

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