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Yu is Off the Board

December 20, 2011

Yu Darvish, the Japanese phenom from the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters was posted and the posting fee winner was announced yesterday as our American League West rival Texas Rangers who put up $51.7M for the right to sign Darvish away from the NPB. The Rangers who have had a relatively quiet offseason – perhaps any team’s qualifies as quiet in comparison to the Los Angeles Angels’ – made a big splash to replace the loss of C.J. Wilson. While there are varying opinions as to whether his NPB success will translate to MLB success he does appear to be a very good pitcher and he does also appear headed to the Rangers.

While this is big news for the A’s in the sense that they share a division with the Rangers, I don’t see this move really affecting the order of things as I felt despite the two significant acquisitions of Wilson and more so Albert Pujols the Angels still didn’t topple the Rangers from their AL West throne. That said, while perhaps not changing their place in the standings all these moves likely will have the effect of giving the A’s a few more losses in 2012. The big news however from the Darvish deal (and I say deal in the sense that the posting fee has been accepted and therefore if Darvish pitches in 2012 it is either for the Rangers or back in Japan) for A’s fans really is that now I think it is fair to say unquestionably Oakland’s own Gio Gonzalez is the most valuable starting pitcher on the trade/free-agent market. Furthermore one has to assume the Toronto Blue Jays, who certainly have the prospects to do it (and though even had they won the bidding on Darvish may still have had interest) are prohibitive front-runners to land Gio.

I would love to see Billy Beane make a deal with Toronto, though yesterday Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports has intimated that Washington could again be in the mix – something I had commented on a few days earlier – writing,

“the Nationals, continuing their quest to add a left-handed starting pitcher, are pushing hard to land the Athletics’ Gio Gonzalez, according to major-league sources.”

The Jays however offer a very intriguing package of players and a lot of versatility with high ceiling players presently in the middle to higher minor-leagues. The guy I find most intriguing is Jake Marisnick, who Nathaniel Stoltz of Seedlings to Stars says,

“has top-25 talent and he just had a big year, but he’s still got a short track record of success and a lot of distance between his current level and the big leagues. By the time he reaches the majors, he could be considered one of the top prospects in the game, but for now, he’ll need to spend 2012 proving he can continue to show some control of the strike zone against more advanced pitchers, and, preferably, clearing a few more fences.”

The Blue Jays however are loaded with prospects, so figuring out a deal that is similar in structure to the Mat Latos to the Reds deal likely would not be as difficult for Alex Anthopoulos as it might other general managers, both from the vantage of satisfying the A’s needs and from the vantage of not emptying out the organization.

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