The free agent market remains frozen solid, to the extent that the flow of information coming from various sources has slowed to little more than a trickle. But while we’ve gotten little drips here and there about what a player wants or what a team is willing to offer, there has been next to nothing of substance when it comes to Yu Darvish.
All we’ve really gotten to this point are erroneous reports that he would sign by Christmas, that he had agreed to terms with the Cubs, or that he had turned down a seven-year, $160 million offer from the Yankees. In a true sign of the times, Darvish himself refuted each of these via Twitter almost as soon as they hit the greater public consciousness.
He even offered a little clarification to a report that he was down to five teams, adding that he knew of one more that was in the mix.
So when Yahoo Japan reported that Darvish had gotten an offer from the Brewers, the pitcher’s pensive-emoji response led to a little confusion. Most people use said image to express incredulity or a sarcastic mulling over of the hot take in question. But could Darvish have been using it to mean that he was thinking over the offer? It seems unlikely that he’d be openly dismissive of an entire organization, especially since the veracity of the report has been confirmed.
We know certain teams have met with the coveted pitcher and that at least five or six are still very interested, but we’ve never really gotten info on numbers. Until now. Sort of. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted Monday afternoon that Darvish does have “at least one five-year offer on the table.”
Yu Darvish has at least one five-year offer on the table, according to a source, but nothing yet has enticed him to take the plunge. It's uncertain if the years or the $$ are the hangup — or both. #Cubs, #Twins, #Rangers, #Dodgers, #Brewers are all believed to be in the mix.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 22, 2018
Okay, so what does that really mean? And is there anything in here that we didn’t already know? Hell, is there even anything here, period? Not much, maybe, and kind of.
The Yankees have made an offer, that much we already know for sure. The numbers in Michael Kay’s overblown rumor were incorrect, but Darvish did acknowledge that he was presented with figures. New York is conspicuously absent from the list of teams Crasnick included in the tweet, though, so perhaps we can rule them out for now.
We obviously know that the Brewers made an offer as well, and it’s probably safe to assume that they would have tried to make it something enticing if they’re getting in at this late stage. Then you’ve got the Twins, who have the room to be pretty aggressive and may need to be so in order to land Darvish. Or any free agent, for that matter.
Minneapolis is an incredible city and the Twins have a beautiful ballpark, but there’s a sense among some agents that players don’t really view it as a preferred destination. As such, Minnesota GM Thad Levine (who was with the Rangers when they first signed Darvish) could be willing to get out ahead of the rest of the teams in the running.
The Cubs may have floated an offer as well, though I’ve got a sense that they used the same low-ball tactic they’ve reportedly employed with Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb. Going to only four and three years, respectively, on those two is like underbidding on The Price Is Right just to avoid going too high.
It’s also a matter of laying a breadcrumb trail or planting their flag or something of that nature. Even if it’s a number they know won’t get it done, the Cubs have voiced their interest and established an understanding that they’re willing to discuss the matter further.
So while this recent news on Darvish leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to illuminating the situation, it’s perhaps a sign that the market has thawed just a little more.