After throwing big money to purchase a 37.5 per cent stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment last week, Rogers Communications appears to have done the same with the latest Japanese pitching sensation.
The New York Post is reporting the Toronto Blue Jays, on orders from owner Rogers, have made the highest posting bid to negotiate with right-hander Yu Darvish.
The newspaper reported the bid to be more than $40 million US and possibly close to $50 million.
Also said to be in the mix for the 25-year-old Darvish are the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers.
The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan's Pacific League have until 5 p.m. ET on Dec. 20 to accept a bid. According to a CBSSports.com report Thursday evening, they won't accept until just before the deadline.
If the bid is accepted, MLB will announce the team that won the rights, and that club will have 30 days to agree to a contract. The posting fee will be paid only if an agreement is reached with Darvish's agents, Arn Tellem and Don Nomura.
If no deal is reached, Darvish returns to the Fighters for another season and the Fighters must return the posting fee to the MLB club.
The six-foot-five hurler had an 18-6 record with a 1.44 earned-run average and a league-leading 276 strikeouts in 2011.
Opinions from those who have scouted Darvish seem mixed.
"He has better stuff than [Hideki] Irabu and [Daisuke] Matsuzaka," a talent evaluator from a team that didn’t bid told the Post of Darvish. "He is making $6 million a year in Japan on the field, close to that off the field.
"So you are starting at $12 million a year over here. I would say five years for $75 million is about right."
Darvish, who reportedly throws seven pitches including two- and four-seam fastballs as well as a cut fastball and a bevy of off-speed stuff, pitched in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and first gained notoriety in the U.S. in 2009 when he led Japan to a World Baseball Classic title.
In 2006, Matsuzaka drew a $51.1-million US posting fee from the Red Sox, who signed him to a six-year, $52-million contract, taking the total package to more than $100 million.