Yu Darvish, Nippon-Ham Fighter extraordinaire, will not shapeshift into a Diamondback next season. The 24-year-old starting pitcher told his fans (and prospective new American employers) via his blog overnight that he will continue battle pork products next season.
The Arizona Diamondbacks had been rumored to be mulling over offering $80 million in posting fees and/or salaries to the man and his anti-ham forces to secure the Japanese ingénue as the ace of the D-backs staff for the next slither to glory.
It's unclear how much of that rumor from a Japanese news source was so much ham-fisted wish-seeding from the Fighters of Nippon-Ham. Would Darvish have chosen to stay in Japan if a team really was willing to serious cash in his direction? Would his team have really turned down a huge posting fee in hopes of a larger one just as every sports league in America has taken the Rich Uncle Pennybags tax card pose in Monopoly?
Regardless, the Diamondbacks are back to where they started: short on front-line starters and in need to spend a little cash to avoid looking like revenue sharing welfare recipients pocketing the extra money.
This, of course, is exactly where Scott Boras steps in.
The quality free-agent starters will not be headed to Arizona, except possibly for spring training next year. They can get better offers elsewhere and for good reason -- this Diamondbacks team can't improve to 88 wins next season and shouldn't overspend their way to 78.
But the Diamondbacks may have just had their wallets at the ready when they reached the back of the Target store only to find out they're out of imported ham fighters. Now they've already made the drive to the store and shuffled all the way to the back and they're not making this trip back out again and isn't there something they need while they are out?
Oh, that's right: a Proven Closer.
Scott Boras sidles up to an endcap on which Rafael Soriano sits, kicking his cleats and cradling his glove. Surely you need one of these, he slyly smiles. He's housebroken and has playoff experience and is proven to collect saves at a hoarder's rate. Every team needs one! Just scoop him into your basket and take him to the checkout line.
Here, the Diamondbacks should pause. Yes, they are shopping around for a few items to fill out their home until they can finish out the remodeling and really spruce up the place in 2013. But a Rafael Soriano must be so expensive; he'd really look out of place among the Ikea shelves and crate end tables.
What's that? No, don't look at the price tag, insists Boras. He's a one-of-a-kind. How can you put a price on that? Though we'll find a way, he notes solemnly. We'll find a way.
And a Proven Closer is worth so much more. The Tampa Bay Rays once purchased a Dan Wheeler at a moderate price and they were in the World Series ... recently. These closers can appreciate and make for great gifts to contenders. Buy now!
Hopefully, this is where the Diamondbacks shake the shopping mood and display the austerity that has economists concerned that America will become the next Japan: a deflationary mess, an island full of savers and not spenders. No, no, Mister Boras, we'll just rummage around in the dollar bin at the front of the store. Maybe in a couple years, okay?
Boras might then sigh a piteous sigh for the team that will lose out on such a great deal. But perhaps the Diamondbacks could do Boras a tiny favor? Could they just linger around Soriano for a couple more minutes until another team walks by? It'll really help if someone else seems willing to pay full price.
If Darvish's workplace next season is any indication, the Diamondbacks won't be that team. But will all that money pay down the credit cards enough to allow for a judicious purchase or two in a couple years? That's when we'll know if the Diamondbacks are really turning Japanese.
(Footnote: Yes, the team is named after Nippon Ham and has nothing to do with kosher warriors. You try saying "Nippon-Ham Fighters" without giggling.)