Although the Japanese pitcher –– who starred for the Nippon Ham Fighters last year –– declared his desire to pitch in Major League Baseball, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington wasn’t optimistic about Boston’s chances.
“I’m not sure the timing this offseason puts us in a position to be the most aggressive team, but he’s a good pitcher,” Cherington said. “I have a lot of respect for him. We’ll certainly discuss it and see if a post makes sense.”
During three of his four seasons with the Fighters, Darvish has developed into a strikeout machine, fanning at least 200 batters throughout that span. In 2011, the 25-year-old went 18-6 with a miniscule 1.44 ERA and 276 strikeouts through 232 innings.
From 2007-09, Valentine witnessed Darvish’s devastating pitches as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines. Based on that experience, the skipper came away impressed with his potential.
“I have no idea if his talents will translate to the major league level if he came here, but he’s a quality pitcher,” Valentine said. “He has size, quality, velocity, breaking balls and very big hands. He makes the ball do crazy things on its way to the plate.”
With Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey each recovering from Tommy John surgery and missing large portions of the 2012 season, the back end of the Red Sox rotation has plenty of openings.
But for the time being, Cherington is content with allowing Andrew Miller, Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves to duke it out for those spots.
“We’ve got a commitment to the starting rotation as you know and feel pretty good about the front end of the rotation. If a team is going to be posting and trying to sign [Darvish], it’s to be in the front end of the rotation.
“We feel pretty good about that part of our team.”
Photo via Flickr/leadenhall