Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Yu Darvish or C.J. Wilson

Posted on: January 18, 2012 9:06 am
Edited on: January 18, 2012 5:18 pm

By Matt Snyder

We now know that the Rangers have signed Yu Darvish to a 6-year, $60 million contract, which is more than they were reportedly willing to pay C.J. Wilson. Plus, the Rangers now owe the NPB's Fighters a $51.7 posting fee on top of the contract. So they were willing to shell out $111.7 million for Darvish, but not half of that for Wilson.

So this marks the perfect opportunity to continue our offseason series and see if our answers equal the answer of the Rangers organization ...

Would you rather have C.J. Wilson or Yu Darvish?

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and company would rather have Darvish. Do we agree with that decision?

The case for Darvish

I've already made the case that Darvish is unlike any pitcher we've ever seen come from Japan. Seriously, if you haven't seen the stats, please click on that link. He's head and shoulders above the likes of Dice-K and Hideo Nomo at this point in his career, so it's unfair to lump him in with past imports just because they came from the same league. Darvish is a different kind of talent.

Would You Rather Have
Also, there's the fact that Daniels personally flew to Japan to watch Darvish pitch and the Rangers scouting department was watching him very closely as well. Considering the quick turnaround the organization has made into an American League powerhouse under Daniels and his scouting department, are we seriously going to question what they think they see in Darvish? I'm sure not.

Additionally, Darvish is only 25 while Wilson is 31.

The case for Wilson

The left-hander has only been a starter for the past two seasons, but he's been damn good. In 2011, he was good enough to finish sixth in Cy Young voting, as he went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 206 strikeouts in 223 1/3 innings. Keep in mind, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was the top hitters' park in all of baseball in 2011, too, so Wilson was throwing roughly half his games in a pitchers' worst nightmare. He wasn't bad at home (3.69 ERA, 1.23 WHIP), but the difference showed when he took the ball on an opposing mound. He sported a 2.31 ERA and 1.15 WHIP on the road in 2011. And now he's headed to the Angels, who play in what rated as a pitchers' park in 2011.

But much of the case for Wilson is that he's a known entity in Major League Baseball. More to the point: Darvish is not. So this part is actually a case against Darvish.

Pitchers in Japan throw once a week while pitchers in the majors are expected to pitch once every five days. Darvish did cut down his schedule to once every six days last season, in advance of knowing he was probably going to post, but that's still one day longer than in America. Also, many scouts liken Nippon Professional Baseball to be either Triple-A level or between Triple-A and the majors. So we don't have any large samples upon which to judge Darvish adjusting to real big-league hitters over the course of a long season or dealing with real adversity when, say, Albert Pujols crushes a grand slam off of him. Then you have the travel issue -- in Japan, all the games are played within one time zone. And how will Darvish handle the wilting heat of Texas in the middle of the summer?

There are many fair questions to be asked. 

Our call

It's incredibly tough, considering the only bits and pieces I've seen of Darvish came in the 2009 World Baseball Classic -- where he was dominant, but I just don't trust numbers in March. On the other hand, I very much trust Daniels and his operation. With Darvish being six years younger and an imposing 6-foot-5 power pitcher, the possible upside is intriguing. Ultimately that, the age difference and my trust in Daniels has me begrudgingly picking Darvish here. I wish I had at least one major-league start to judge, but no MLB teams were afforded that luxury.

Fan Vote:

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Since: Jun 30, 2007
Posted on: January 27, 2012 6:18 pm

Would You Rather Have: Yu Darvish or C.J. Wilson

if you vote darvish your crazy! i will take the guy who is a proven mlb starter over a second coming of daisuke. all set.

Since: Apr 21, 2007
Posted on: January 20, 2012 12:43 pm

Would You Rather Have: Yu Darvish or C.J. Wilson

I would say YOUR logic is "ridiculous and flawed".  How many years was Dirk already an NBA player before the Mavs title?  He was an established NBA player.  We have seen diddly of Darvish up against Major League hitters at this point.

To totally ignore history is naive and ignorant.  Just about EVERY SINGLE PITCHER to come over from Japan has resulted in failure to come anywhere near their previous success levels - and more often than not, they have flamed out after 2-3 years.  Darvish may have been well-scouted.  So what?  Are you suggesting EVERY OTHER TEAM that ever signed a pitcher from the Japanese Leagues did a "poor" scouting job?  Broaden the horizon a bit here and try to concede that the Texas Rangers are not the SOLE possessors of competent scouting.

To disagree with someone - even to "totally" disagree, as I have - is at least being civil.  It is easy - and again, ignorant - to take a totally provincial and bombastic posture, and engage in name-calling.  Those who do that, and refuse to let little things like facts or history get in the way of their narrow-minded, iron-clad thinking, invariably get the appropriate amount of respect for their comments from the non-paleoanthropic segment of this forum with whom I enjoy engagement.

And before you also bash Angels Fans (not that I am one of them; I'm a Yankees fan), try to remember that they HAVE won a World Series in 2002.  When was it Texas won - nineteen-never, right?

Since: Jan 19, 2007
Posted on: January 20, 2012 10:57 am

Would You Rather Have: Yu Darvish or C.J. Wilson

No European player from Germany has ever led an NBA team to a title and been the Finals MVP........... Then, Dirk!!!!!!!  MAVS, NBA champs.  So, the argument that, "No Japanese player has ever done it with success......" is a weak one.  Because eventually, someone will come over and do it.  That logic is just ridiculous and flawed.  Nobody knows if Darvish is going to be that guy yet, but just like Strasburg when he was drafted, you have to scout the players size, mechanics, frame, delivery, stuff, and pitch repetoire.  Yes, Darvish pitched in Japan only, but he's not Dice-K.  He's a foot taller than every other Japanese pitcher, weighs 50 pounds more, and has all the movement and stuff that scouts look for to translate to the MLB game.  CJ Wilson hit his ceiling already - he's not going to go up from here.  He was a douche in the clubhouse and the leaders of the team didn't like him, he runs his mouth like he's got Halladay or Verlander stuff, he's 31 years old (the age Darvish will be AFTER this 6 year contract), and he was looking to go back to his hometown in California.  How is this even a tough decision?  Darvish is the right investment.  Do risks and investments always pay off?  No, but the Rangers are one of the smartest teams when it comes to scouting, and evaluating risk and talent.  They did years of scouting and due diligence and they made a baseball decision based on that due diligence and evaluation of risk.  In the end, it wasn't a tough decision when you consider you would've had to throw the same amount of money at a guy who:  a. wanted to really be in California, b. was 31 years old, c. was a douche in the clubhouse, and d. couldn't get it done for you in the playoffs and @#$% the bed in the series.  

Good riddance CJ, you will not be missed no matter how many games you win for the California LA Anaheim Calfornia Angels of Anaheim.  And I hope Angel fans get some hardware soon, because with all the millions of contracts that are tied up in old, washed up dudes, your window in slamming shut fast.  


Since: Apr 21, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2012 11:57 pm

Would You Rather Have: Yu Darvish or C.J. Wilson

The fact that Darvish only pitched in Japan means exactly nothing. 
TOTALLY disagree.  Give me one case where a pitcher has come over from Japan and pitched really well for 6 years.  If Darvish does it, it will be a first.

CJ has good stuff.  If he's a post-season bust, yeah... ya gotta upgrade.  But I'm not convinced that Darvish is, in fact, an upgrade.

Over the last 20 years, the landscape is littered with pitchers imported from Japan who have disappointed.

Time will tell for sure - but $113 million or so (including the posting fee)?  I'm not buying - for now.

Since: Nov 27, 2009
Posted on: January 19, 2012 11:23 am

Would You Rather Have: Yu Darvish or C.J. Wilson

so CJ Wilson can't win the big one, so the Rangers are going to shell out 100+ million dollars for a pitcher that has never thrown a pitch in the MLB???  does that make any sense???

no one here knows what Darvish is going to do at the MLB level.  it cracks me up listening to some Ranger fans saying things like "I'm a big fan of Darvish", as if they had any clue who the guy was until he announced he wanted to play in the MLB a couple months ago.

if the transition from the Japanese leagues was so easy -- Ichiro wouldn't be the only Japanese player worth a damn right now.  Problem is -- there is only one Ichiro and there is alot more Kei Igawa's, Kaz Matsui's and Hideki Irubu's.

i wish the Rangers the best and Darvish has the size and looks of a MLB starter, but until he has pitched in the MLB -- he has proven nothing.


CJ not winning the big one is not the only reason the Rangers didn't bring him back. First of all CJ wanted to go home to play for the Angels. Also CJ has an attitude problem, and it has been rumored that even his own teammates didn't like him very much. He pitched well the last 2 regular seasons, but before that he wasn't all that great. Who knows what he will do next season, he could be great or he could flop. I really think that Nolan Ryan knows about pitching, and he sees something in Yu that he didn't see in CJ. I want you to show me where I said I'm a big fan of Darvish, also just because a few pitchers have not panned out in the Bigs doesn't mean Darvish won't. I think its funny that last year Angel fans talked trash about CJ all year, and even on these very threads said they didn't want him on their team. Now that they have signed him hes the best pitcher out there. Yes I know you are not an Angel fan. I know this Darvish signing might not pan out, and there is a chance he will be a bust, but the upside is worth the risk IMO. I also think that the Angels paid way to much money for Albert, a guy who's numbers have declined the last 3 years, and will continue to decline.

Since: Feb 3, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2012 9:12 am

Would You Rather Have: Yu Darvish or C.J. Wilson

I like CJ.  He's a good pitcher. He was 0 - 5 in the playoffs last year and looked bad doing it.  He pitches better in the series, Rangers win it.

Rangers still have the same pitchers that got them within 1 out of the championship, because CJ did not help them in the post season.  They also have Feliz as a starter now and Holland will probably be a better pitcher since he figured it out in the 2nd half of last season.

 Darvish is a potential stud.  True, you don't know what you're going to get yet, but why would you want to bring CJ back to a long-term deal when you can get a pitcher with bigger potential and also 6 years younger?  He's a potential ace; CJ proved he's not an ace.

This is a no-brainer for me.  You want Darvish over CJ. 

Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posted on: January 19, 2012 7:37 am

Would You Rather Have: Yu Darvish or C.J. Wilson

Interesting. Pretty much everyone likes that Yankees just signed Kuroda. He is "proven" commodity, as he pitched well for the Dodgers. Before that, Dodgers made huge gamble when they signed pitcher from that "bush league" because he was good there and they seen he had good stuff. Now Texas are doing the same gamble and all of sudden, people tend to discount the exactly same league and try to ignore the fact that Texas scouts liked what they saw. 

Sure there is no guarantee that Darvish will be any good in Texas, but there is no guarantee that Wilson will be any good either. He just might have two fluke seasons as SP before he'll hit the wall. There is about same amount risk involved with both players, as their contracts are long for a lots of money. The fact that Darvish only pitched in Japan means exactly nothing. 

Since: Jan 19, 2012
Posted on: January 19, 2012 12:45 am

Answer: Yu Darvish

As a long-time Ranger fan watching CJ come up through the organization and close for us a year or two, his downfall is his desire to strike everyone out.

When CJ makes his best pitch and pitches to contact, he is nearly unhittable!  That is what he did most of the time during the regular season.  Every once in a while, though, CJ goes back to his reliever roots and tries to strike everyone out with the "perfect pitch"; and what is worse, he is a perfectionist, so if he's just missing, he keeps trying to get it right - usually with poor results, hitters' counts, and walks.  The world saw CJ at his nit-picking in the playoffs.  He was terrible, going 0-5 against other teams' best pitchers.  It actually amazed me my Rangers overcame his incompetence and went to the Series.  I was upset when Washington chose to start CJ against Carpenter, seeing CJ's regression in the first two rounds and believing he would have fared better against St. Louis' second starter.

CJ will fit in fine with the Angels as a #3 or #4 starter.  Just don't count on him to be a #1.

That's why the Rangers were willing to part with him and go after Darvish.  In Darvish they see a stouter pitcher, younger, who I saw in his scouting tape went after hitters with unhittable stuff in the zone instead of (like Wilson) picking at corners hoping for a swing and miss instead of a ball call.  They feel Darvish can fit in at #1 or #2 (if Holland continues his growth and dominates like he did a couple of times in the playoffs).  And at 6 years younger than CJ, and with less wear-and-tear on his body from the less aggressive Japanese schedule, he will likely be more durable (despite his higher pitch counts).

Since: Feb 13, 2008
Posted on: January 18, 2012 11:38 pm

Would You Rather Have: Yu Darvish or C.J. Wilson

Ohhh... this is fun.


The Rangers' first 7 games are in Arlington this season.  If the Rangers are really, really smart, Yu won't start before Game 4 (Seattle) rather than one of the first 3 (White Sox).  Game 5 might be even better.  The anticipation among the fandom will be palpable.  We could well see every game up to Yu's first start sell out.

And, if he wins, his next home start sells out.  If he loses, the honeymoon effect will keep him from being tarred, feathered, drawn, quartered, court-marshalled and stood in front of a firing squad before being run out of town on a rail.  Plus, he's in Texas and not NY or Boston ... we're more tolerant and will allow our expectations to grow over time rather than expect his Cy Young be delivered before the end of April.

Plus, what I've seen of Yu... his fastball jumps out of his hand.  He throws his curve with ease, grace and fluidity.  He's bigger and stronger.  And, he's use to success.


C.J. will arrive in LA with equally high expectations.  But, I doubt California will be as tolerant; although, they won't be NY or Boston.  Still, any sellouts will be due to a new first-baseman in town and not anything to do with an always dominant, anyway, pitching staff.

If C.J. wins, he won last year and the year before, too.  Ho Hum.  The publicity will not be anywhere near as electric as that provided by Yu and his "potential".

And, C.J. works WAY too hard to have the same results as other good pitchers.  He "chunks" the ball at the plate and is mortally afraid to give the hitter something he might square up on.  He often get so far into his own head, he screws himself into knots.  LA fans will find themselves stressed to the limit when he's on the mound.

Just the publicity alone makes Yu worth what he was given by the Rangers and send C.J. packing.  But, over the long run, I'll be Yu proves to be the better pitcher, too.  Especially, when it counts.

Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:28 pm

Would You Rather Have: Yu Darvish or C.J. Wilson


thanks for the compliment. I do care very much about reader feedback.

- Matt

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