Padres can thank Yu Darvish for being able to land Japanese star

Yu Darvish is not messing around this offseason.
San Diego Padres v Milwaukee Brewers
San Diego Padres v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

One distinguishing characteristic about this offseason not just for the San Diego Padres, but for the league as a whole, has been the influence of Japanese players. There's usually one guy that gets some press (and it's usually a big name), but this offseason saw the bidding for Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Shota Imanaga take over the offseason once Shohei Ohtani was off the market.

The Padres, too, got involved in the Japanese market when they signed one of NPB's best relievers in Yuki Matsui to a five-year deal. Matsui was a popular name on the relief market thanks to his ability to miss bats even if he didn't get the press that guys like Yamamoto and Imanaga did. San Diego's bullpen took a hit when Josh Hader left town, but Matsui is a very nice consolation prize.

As it turns out, Matsui may not have signed with the Padres at all if not for Yu Darvish.

Yu Darvish sold Yuki Matsui on the Padres and the city of San Diego

While Darvish hasn't been thrilled with the Padres' offseason, it's clear he's trying to work his magic behind the scenes to bring in good players, especially when it comes to those from his home country. In a recent report from the San Diego Union-Tribune, Matsui discussed not only how much he values being around Darvish, but how Darvish sold him on living and playing in San Diego when he was still making his decision on where to play.

We still don't know how Matsui's stuff is going to translate to games in MLB. He does have a tendency to walk guys and his stuff, outside his splitter, isn't overpowering. However, his track record of success in Japan does mean something and it's clear he's an extraordinary talent on the mound. In this case, it's talent that San Diego fans can thank Darvish for helping bring into the fold.

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