Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was coy in discussing the 25-year-old right-hander, refusing to say if the club intends to participate in the posting process with a bid.
"I can't tell you," said Cashman. "It's one of those things where there's been a lot of discussion over the last few years about him coming over.
"It's just one of those things where you wait and see if he gets posted. Then obviously everybody on this side of the fence will evaluate it -- meaning all of the Major League clubs, about whether they want to participate or not."
Darvish was 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA this season for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, and he had 276 strikeouts to lead the Pacific League. The Yankees are known to have scouted him, and observers say that his drop-and-drive delivery should project well in the Majors.
"It's hard to say," said Cashman. "He's extremely talented, but in terms of how it transitions and everything else like that, I wouldn't even want to speculate. He's obviously got a great deal of ability."
Cashman has said that the Yankees did not possess the financial flexibility to sign a big free-agent pitcher, watching C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle come off the board this week.
But Cashman also said that he won't hesitate to ask managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner for more money. The Yankees may have been burned on the Kei Igawa signing at a cost of $46 million, but Darvish is regarded as a much different talent.
"Timing is everything, when people become available," Cashman said. "Sometimes if you like somebody a great deal, it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be in a position to participate. Obviously, he's extremely talented, so if he's going to get posted and stuff, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out."
The Yankees did acquire the rights to negotiate with a Japanese player this week, bidding a reported $2 million to talk with Seibu Lions infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima. They have until Jan. 6 to reach an agreement.