Darvish, Texas agree to six-year deal

The Texas Rangers and Japanese pitching star Yu Darvish have agreed on a six-year contract, the team announced Wednesday.

The deal is worth close to $60 million, one major-league source confirmed to FOXSports.com. It does not include deferred money.

Darvish may opt-out of the deal after five years if he attains high-end award levels, one source told FOXSports.com

Darvish is coming off a season for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in which he went 18-6 and established career bests in innings (232) and ERA (1.44). He had 276 strikeouts to lead the Pacific League.

Wednesday’s deal came at the end of a 30-day negotiating window that began Dec. 19 when the Rangers’ bid to negotiate with the pitcher was accepted. The sides had until 5 p.m. ET today to reach agreement or Darvish would have returned to Japan for the 2012 season.

The Rangers already spent $51.7 million for the rights to negotiate with Darvish. The total expenditure — contract and posting fee — is roughly $110 million. The Rangers’ bid for negotiating rights beat the previous record bid of $51.1 million submitted by Boston for Daisuke Matsuzaka after the 2006 season.

Darvish, a 6-foot-5 right-hander, was a two-time Pacific League MVP and a five-time All-Star. He led the league in strikeouts three times, in ERA twice and won two Gold Gloves.

The son of an Iranian father and a Japanese mother, he made the equivalent of about $6 million last season in Japan.

Darvish, who turned pro at 18, pitched in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was a member of the Japanese team that won the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The right-hander has superb control and throws seven effective pitches.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)