Did the Nationals submit a formal bid for the right to sign Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish? We may find out by the end of the day.
The posting window on Darvish ends at 5 p.m. today, at which point the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters will select which major-league club gets the exclusive right to negotiate a contract with Darvish, the most-hyped ballplayer to emerge from Japan since Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo wouldn't reveal last week whether he planned to bid on Darvish, citing the blind nature of the process and the importance of keeping all bids secret so other clubs wouldn't know who else is in the game. But the Nats have been scouting Darvish for several years, and Rizzo (who has seen him pitch in person) has plenty of positive things to say about the 25-year-old hurler.
So it won't be a surprise if we learn the Nationals did bid on Darvish. But it may be a surprise if we find out they exceeded the 50 million posting fee barrier most expect it to take to win this auction.
That 50 million posting fee, of course, goes entirely to the Fighters. The winning club still has to work out a contract with Darvish over the next 30 days, and most expect that to cost another 50 million or so.
Are the Nationals willing to spend 100 million or more on a player who has never thrown a professional pitch in the United States? We may find out later today.