The great Yu Darvish myth

Updated: December 22, 2011, 10:12 AM ET
By Buster Olney

You probably could operate a small nation with the number of work hours that big league executives have exhausted trying to figure out how to handle the bid process for Japanese players, a system that one AL official referred to last week as "weird."

There's no way to know how much any other team has bid; no way to know whether your bid might be $30 million short, or just by a nickel. It's like playing poker without seeing your cards or knowing how much money is in the game. So club executives have argued for years about what the right numbers should be -- for a Daisuke Matsuzaka, for a Yu Darvish. When the Red Sox bid $51 million for Dice-K, they decided to tack on a few extra dollars, just in case -- hence their final bid of $51,111,111.11. Just in case the Yankees bid $51 million, the Red Sox wanted to have a bid with a tiebreaker built in.

Earlier this week, the Rangers -- who probably had put in more time evaluating and scouting Darvish than any other team -- posted a bid of $51.7 million.

Since then, there have been reports that the Toronto Blue Jays barely missed out, with a bid of little over $50 million, and knowing how carefully general managers and their assistants think about this stuff, my first thought was: no way.