What An Opportunity

Discussion: We want Yu to speak your mind

In Sports on April 10, 2012 at 7:01 am

"Yu know what it is."

Japanese pitching phenom Yu Darvish, to whom the Texas Rangers committed $108 million this offseason, made his Rangers debut tonight. It began inauspiciously, as Yu allowed four first-inning runs to the Seattle Mariners. This struggle was especially noteworthy because the Mariners were MLB’s lowest scoring team by a wide margin last season. In the end, Texas won 11-5, but Darvish was not exactly the dominant force many expected to see.

Obviously, one game is a nearly irrelevant sample; however, Yu’s struggles raise an interesting debate. America’s professional leagues have employed a plethora of foreign players, and their levels of performance have varied extensively.  Some, like Ichiro Suzuki and Dirk Nowitzki, have been revelatory as they construct Hall of Fame caliber careers. Others – Darko Milicic and Daisuke Matsuzaka come to mind – have entered under lofty expectations and flamed out spectacularly.

The debate: Given the extra resources demanded by the scouting of foreign prospects, the inherent difficulties involved in athletes’ transition to a new culture and style of play, and the insane buyout costs that are often involved, is the pursuit of foreign athletes worth the risk for American pro teams?

We want your input! Let’s discuss: make your case for or against signing foreign players. We’ll call the debate Ricky Rubio (who will likely be a top 5 NBA point guard within 2 years) vs. Nikoloz Tskitishvili  (Who? Exactly…).

 

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