Yu Darvish is on his way to the States to pitch for the Rangers.  Erik wrote a Yu Darvish 2012 fantasy post already.  To pull some quotes from that article, “Darvish was once involved in a “major scandal” in Japan, where he was caught smoking,” “He also goes by the Persian name Farid, meaning ‘glorious,'” and “He mixes in a cutter.”  He sounds like he’s in the Yakuza.  I don’t want to draft Yu; I wanna hang out with him in illegal gambling halls and pick up coquettish girls.  I’m gonna be honest with you (for the first time ever!) and tell you I don’t know what to make of Darvish’s Japanese numbers.  Dice-K came to the States with some serious bells and whistles.  In his first year, he had a 4.40 ERA.  The Ks did, for lack of a better word, translate to the States early on for Dice-K and I think they will too for Yu (hey, sounds like there’s a haiku in there).  His stuff looks filthy and batters will not be familiar with him at all.  Last year, he had 276/36 K/BB in over 232 innings.  That’s off the charts then making a new chart and going off that one too.  For fantasy, I could see him giving fantasy #2 starter type numbers, say, around a 3.50-3.75 and 200 Ks.  He could basically be the same as what the Rangers just lost in C.J. Wilson.  There’s the chance for more, but Yu’re gonna have to draft him high so there’s gonna be very little room for error.   Depending on his price tag, I’ll probably sit out the fantasy Yu-stakes.  Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2012 fantasy baseball:

Jed Lowrie – Heads to the Astros to become their new shortstop.  On one hand, Lowrie has never hit more than 13 homers in any professional season (2007 when he split time between Double- and Triple-A).  On the other hand, he hasn’t played too many full seasons since then.  On the third lesser known hand that is actually a blown-up rubber glove, he hasn’t played too many full seasons because he’s always injured.  People seem to love Lowrie’s potential.  He’s gonna be 28 years old this year, it would be nice to finally see said potential.  If he hits 12 homers and steals 5 bases, it would be a huge season for him.  In other words, I don’t know any reason why people love him.

Mark Melancon – Goes to the Sawx.  The GM over in Beantown says Melancon is “capable of closing.”  In big market speak, that means he won’t be the closer.  Melancon is the stereotypical small market closer, big market set-up man.

Daniel Bard – The Sawx are toying with the idea that Daniel Bard should be in the rotation rather than as the closer.  To incorrectly quote Gordon Gekko, “That’s a toy with fleas.”  As a starter in the minor leagues, his ERA was 7.08 and walked 78 hitters in 75 innings.  Granted, this was early on in his minor league career, but I don’t see the Sawx taking a pitcher that is actually succeeding as a reliever and stretching him out to fail.  Then again, their rotation isn’t exactly five deep.  I think Bard’s the closer before Melancon, but it might not be decided until the spring.  Hopefully he doesn’t stay *pinkie to mouth* Bard from the bullpen.  Or should I say bullpun.

Tsuyoshi Wada – Signed with the O’s.  I agree with Scott, our prospect writer, when he says he’s not impressed with Wada.  He looks like a fourth starter on a bad team with a side of belch.

Michael Cuddyer – Gets away from Hubert H. Homerfree Dome and goes to Coors.  Boom goes the dynamite!  Or does it?  Cuddyer just had a solid season, and terrific when compared to the team around him.  Jack Wilson would’ve looked good in that Minnesota mucky muck last year.  Cuddyer hits a ton of ground balls and he’s not a huge homer threat.  I’d say if he repeats his 2011, it’s a win for him and his fantasy owners, especially since he has 2nd base eligibility.  This isn’t great news for fans of the sexy 3rd base prospect, Nolan Arenado.  Cuddyer, you’re such a prospblocker!

Kelly Shoppach – Signed with Sawx to be the weak side of a platoon with Saltymochachino.  It doesn’t take a genius to know that when you get a situational hitter for half of a platoon when you have a switch hitter (Salty), it’s not a great sign.  This does a lot more for real baseball than it does for fantasy baseball.  Bummer, that’s no fun.  In two catcher leagues, Saltymochachino will still have some value, but the reduced ABs will make it hard to own him in most leagues.

Josh Willingham – The Other White Meat is headed to the land of lakes — butter!  Conventional wisdom says Willingham is a decent 25-homer, .250 hitter.  Conventional wisdom also says middle-aged men pretend to go to conventions but really have another family in a different state, so don’t always trust conventional wisdom.  Instead of Willingham, I’d prefer a fifth fantasy outfielder in a hitter’s park with upside (say Chris Heisey).

Mike Cameron – Signed a deal with the Nats.  Deal is full of performance-based incentives.  Stop eating the contract, Mike!  It’s performance-based, not performance-enhancing.

Allen Craig – Might be ready for Opening Day.  Craig said, “I asked the doctor directly, when he thought I’d be playing and he said in 4-to-5 months I should be playing, which is right around Opening Day.  Then I asked him for another lollipop and he said no.  A real day of ups and downs!”

Jason Kubel – Signed with the Diamondbacks.  Before this signing, Kubel was most well known for his mention in Ben Zobrist’s wife, a Christian singer, song, “Here’s The Church, Here’s The Steeple, God’s Fifth Outfielder Is Jason Kubel.”  God plays in pretty deep leagues though (omniscience can’t hurt, right?).  Kubel is one of those solid picks for NL-Only leagues — not flashy, gets some stats (20/80/.270), but a yawnstipating pick for mixed leagues for having the same attributes.

Nick Punto – Signed with the Sawx for bench depth.  This is the equivalent to you going into the doctor to electively have an appendix inserted into your body.

 
  1. Tony says:
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    i’d steer clear of Darvish.

    just no indicators of how he’ll do, for where he’ll go probably not worth it.

  2. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:
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    I have a movie recommendation for you, Grey… In Time with Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. I am in no way, shape, or form suggesting that this is a good movie. However, I know how you love puns, and this movie is worth watching for how many of them are crammed into this future where time is used as currency.

    For example, the phrase “You got a minute?” is used the way a bum might ask you for change. “I’m going to clean your clock.” doesn’t mean you’re going to beat someone up, it means you’re going to rob them. I don’t want to spoil too many. Again, this movie is not good… not at all. But this makes it sort of worth watching… it at least doesn’t make watching the movie feel like… wait for it… pun-ishment!

  3. KeeblerMN says:
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    Yeah, the Punto signing seems irrelevant, but if you play in an AL only league that has “Scrappiness” and “Hits by head first slides into first base” as categories, this could be HUGE!

  4. Big Magoo

    Big Magoo says:
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    Hey Grey. Hope the offseason is treating you well (I understand you’re not much of a football guy). Quick question, completely off-topic and relatively boring but potentially relevant in two-catcher leagues: Do you expect a platoon in Cincinnati or for Hanigan or Mesoraco to start the bulk of the time? I like the potential there for a cheap, productive #2. Thanks.

  5. Simply Fred

    simply fred says:
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    Cuddyer: don’t think he gets 2B eligibility in ESPN (and RCL) since he played 17 games at 2B last year. 20 is the minimum for eligibility.

  6. Ed Nugent says:
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    Hey Grey – What do you think of James Shields for the upcoming season? I know his numbers won’t translate exactly from last year, but should I be worried that he’ll regress to his abominable rations?

    I’m thinking 3.50 with 190 ks or so. Seem reasonable?

  7. Ed Nugent says:
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    @Grey: Shields or Price going forward?

  8. Ed Nugent says:
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    The trade I was approached to do was Nelson Cruz for Shields and a pick upgrade in this years draft. My keepers are:

    Teix
    Kinsler
    Aramis
    Votto
    Andrus
    CGon
    Cruz
    Pence
    Lee
    Weaver

    Think i can take the hit on offense? Would it be worth it to trade for a guy like Shields even though I could pick up a guy like Romero in the draft?

  9. Ed Nugent says:
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    Thanks as always Grey. Happy offseason!

  10. Ed Nugent says:
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    Oh actually, would you swap Price for Cruz in my shoes?

  11. Terrence Mann says:
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    Frigging clown college Colorado Rockies announced on their facebook page that they had a press conference scheduled this afternoon to announce a “major signing”. They come out half an hour ago to announce Cuddyer – who we all knew about last week.

    The only good thing to come of it is the fans are letting the Rocks have it on the fb page.

  12. chata says:
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    as i see it , yu is not a free agent unless he has some other option
    than either playing for the rangers or returning to his old team .

    pujol’s , for instance , could have signed with the marlins , the angels ,
    the cardinals … anyone with enough cash that wanted to enter into
    negotiations with him .

    yu , it seems , is being treated like a piece of property .
    unless he has the option to negotiate with other teams ,
    this smacks of curt flood .

  13. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    True, college players can re-enter the draft. I’m really not sure what happens after Yu plays another year in Japan. Maybe he becomes a free agent, maybe the bidding process happens again.

    But no doubt there are different rules in sports as compared to other jobs. For the most part, whether you are coming from Japan, or already in the majors, you are not usually free to play wherever you want.

  14. Jay says:
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    @Grey, despite the home park upgrade, I’d have to worry a bit about Kubel’s fantasy prospects with the Snakes, since there’s no DH to fall back into. Maybe his salary dictates that he gets a super long leash, but I’d worry about his defense knocking him to a platoon player or bench bat by mid-season.

  15. Simply Fred

    simply fred says:
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    If Darvish doesn’t agree to a deal, he spends one more year in Japan. Next year he would not have to go through the posting process. He would literally be a free agent and land whatever contract he could (again, the mlb team would not have to pay any posting fee).

  16. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:
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    About an hour and a half west of NYC, at the bottom of the Catskills. I live in Jeffersonville, about 10 minutes from Bethel Woods, where the original Woodstock took place. Where are you headed?

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Awesomus Maximus: That might be a bit out of the way. Going to LI mostly but will be in Jersey and, unfortunately, Delaware.

  18. chata says:
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    that’s hilarious .

  19. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @centralohguy: Nope, will only be there for a few hours on Xmas.

    @Awesomus Maximus: I want to make a bumper sticker that says, ‘Anywhere but Delaware.’ How’s the back?

    @AL KOHOLIC: That’s very frustrating.

    @The Talented Mr. Dope Man: Reyes as of right now…

  20. Wake Up says:
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    I believe Yu volunteered to leave early to the MLB to help the Ham Fighters get that $51 mil posting fee. When, in two years he would have been a free agent able to deal with any team that he wanted to, without a posting fee having to be paid.

    Interestingly enough, Cuban defectors immediately become free agents, like Cespedes.

  21. chata says:
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    whoa .
    bill conlin .

  22. Steve says:
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    Busy couple of days coming up, so may not be around all that much. That being the case, Merry Christmas one and all – to you and to yours.

    Wherever you may be.

  23. Steve says:
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    @royce!: Fine here. Quake was in Christchurch, I’m in Auckland. Sounded like a pretty solid shake.

  24. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:
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    This is the first off season in a while where I’m proud of the Yankees. Sure, it was easy to stay away from Pujols and Fielder, but bowing out of dick-measuring-esque bidding wars (especially with Darvish) or throwing away prospects (especially with Gio) was downright delightful to watch/hear/read.

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