Jays frontrunners for Darvish?

Japan's Yu Darvish pitches against Korea during the World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium in Los...

Japan's Yu Darvish pitches against Korea during the World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif., March 23, 2009. (KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/Getty Images/AFP)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:53 AM ET

TORONTO - Where will free agent Yu Darvish land?

Someone in the commissioner’s office in New York knows for sure.

Right now, the perception is that the Blue Jays have outbid both the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers for the Japanese right-hander, according to industry sources on Wednesday night.

That view is shared by half a dozen front offices, but no one at 1 Blue Jays Way is talking.

Not even a puff of smoke from the CN Tower.

How much did the Chicago Cubs bid remains to be seen.

New Cubs president Theo Epstein won the bidding for Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006 when Epstein was with the Boston Red Sox.

“I was told Rogers Communications said: ‘Whatever it costs, sign him,’ ” said one executive. “Only (president) Paul Beeston and (general manager) Alex Anthopoulos know the number on the bid in baseball operations.”

Opposing clubs believe that the Jays submitted a bid in the $40-million-to-$50-million US range just for the right to talk to Darvish. They do not believe Beeston downplaying his team’s interest in Darvish last month.

The Dallas Morning News reported that the Jays made an offer of more than of $50 million, while the Rangers bid was probably in the $40-million range.

Of course winning this cash outlay — MLB notified the Fighters of the amount of the winning bid, the Fighters have until have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to accept — only gives the winning team the right to negotiate a contract with Darvish.

The team which bids the most on Darvish, impressive in the World Baseball Classic, has 30 days to agree on a contract with Darvish’s agents Arn Tellem and Don Nomura.

Some in the industry say while the Yankees were interested in Darvish their bid is not expected to be that high.

The Red Sox bid $51 million for the rights to talk contract with Matsuzaka and then Epstein signed him to a six-year, $52 million deal.

This season Darvish was 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA striking out 276 hitters and walking 36 in 232 innings.

Anthopoulos flew to Japan in August to scout Darvish, while assistant GM Tony LaCava was in Japan for over a week, seeing two Darvish starts.

The 6-5, 215-pounder has had his fastball regularly clocked at 92-95 mph.

In Japan Darvish, like other aces, started on five days rest, until the stretch run when his work was shortened to the normal North American workload of starting on four days rest.

The San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners may also have made bids.


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