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Yu Darvish and the Oakland A’s 2012 Rotation

December 16, 2011

Yu Darvish will not be an Oakland Athletic in 2012. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweeted so much several days ago, but it is the end of her tweet that is important. She wrote,

“I am told the #Athletics did not bid on Yu Darvish. He’ll still help them – teams that lose bid are expected to go hard after Gio Gonzalez.”

Today comes word that we may know who the winner is. At the risk of falling victim to a mystery team changing this dynamic and rendering this entire post meaningless, but Jim Bowden of MLBNetwork Radio tweeted,

“multiple sources cooberating (sic) the NY Post Report that the Blue Jays won the bidding for Yu Darvish…they have until Tues to complete a deal”

If the Jays do in fact land Darvish (a very nice pickup for them and even more proof of what I feel is the genius of Alex Anthopoulos) that means three teams in particular are set up to be losers (though there are of course other suitors and bidders), one the Rangers who were alleged bidders for his services, the Yankees who allegedly put in a low bid, and the Nationals who have not been rumored to have bid or not bid in anything I can find but have been actively seeking starting pitching help and actively striking out in their attempts.

What this all has to do with the A’s is what Slusser mentioned, that these teams all want starting pitching and now it will be official that Gio Gonzalez is the best on the board available. This has to help Gio’s trade market which I assume will develop rapidly as teams look to secure their 2012 rotations. Buster Olney of ESPN concurred, tweeting this morning,

“Wrote earlier this week: if TEX loses out on Darvish, strong Plan B could be Gio Gonzalez; Martin Perez would almost have to be in that deal.”

Martin Perez of course is the Rangers’ #1 prospect as per Baseball America last year (24th in all of MLB) a lefty who split 2011 between the Frisco RoughRiders (AA) and Round Rock Express (AAA) putting up a 3.46 FIP in Frisco and 3.98 FIP in Round Rock with a combined 7.9 K/9, with 3.7 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9. A nice little pickup for Oakland though one has to imagine given Billy Beane‘s asking price thus far it would be only the starting point.

Of course losing out on Darvish (though they never appeared to be too high on him to begin with, perhaps some residuals of failures with Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa, which makes as much sense as Ed Whitson not working out so never again signing a Caucasian American pitcher – may have saved them from Kenny Rogers) the Yankees may see Gio as the best option and finally find themselves willing to part with some combination of Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos. That deal could set in motion an opportunity to deal Kurt Suzuki for even further prospects.

Then there is what I, and perhaps I alone, deem a darkhorse candidate, the Washington Nationals. The Nationals who have been linked to Prince Fielder, Mark Buehrle and others, all of whom that at present do not seem DC-bound, could look to make a splash. While most of their talent is in the very lower levels and guys like Bryce Harper are naturally completely off-limits, they offer some intriguing possibilities and may be the type of organization that is less afraid of an overpay (see Jayson Werth).

If Yu Darvish did indeed get selected by Toronto who are anticipating making a big play to get him, the market for Gio Gonzalez just got a whole lot more hot. While there have been recent discussions of the Mariners and Mets being potential suitors, I say look for one of the three aforementioned teams: the Rangers, Yankees or Nationals to land Gonzalez and land him soon.

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