The big news going around right now is that the winning bid for Yu Darvish has been selected, but we won't be able to know who won until contract negotiations finish next Tuesday. The Yankees and Rangers were apparently gunning for his services (and gunning hard), but from the sounds of it, the Blue Jays may have been the team that won the bidding. It's all just rumors at this point, but the Blue Jays supposedly put in a "whopper" of a bid.
It's unclear exactly how good Darvish will be in the majors, but Eno Sarris tried finding a major league comp for him at FanGraphs yesterday. His best guess puts Darvish somewhere between Jordan Zimmermann and Felix Hernandez....in other words, that's quite a wide range of possibilities. But even if Darvish ends up like Zimmermann, he'd still be a well above average starter.
If the Blue Jays do sign Darvish, that'd certainly make them a much more serious competitor in the AL East. I haven't crunched the numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised if they dramatically improve in 2012.
Mike Fast from Baseball Prospectus tweeted out these tidbits yesterday afternoon:
It's interesting to look at manager evolution. The Rays have gone from a club who hardly used hit-and-run to top of MLB in space of 3 yrs.
Just based on my eye and gut, yeah, the Rays have done lots of hit and runs in recent years. Does this have to do with roster construction? Or do the Rays have some statistical reason for believing it to be the right strategy in many situations? Fast has piqued my interest now, so thankfully he's working on a long piece on the hit-and-run. We might just get an answer on this shortly.
Also, MLB has put together a committee to determine how they can handle international free agents better. There are all sorts of questions they are trying to answer, and Andrew Friedman has been named as one of the eight people on the committee. Considering how this issue could impact the Rays in a number of ways -- and the fact that the new CBA didn't exactly help the Rays -- it's somewhat comforting to know that Friedman will be helping shape policy on this topic.
And hey, there's an article on Burke Badenhop on FanGraphs. It's nothing too radical, but it does a good job explaining how he could be a perfect fit with the Rays' infield defense.