Rangers get their man in Darvish
ARLINGTON, Texas — It took until the final hour of
the negotiating period, but the Texas Rangers finally have the starting pitcher
they've been coveting for years.
Texas agreed to terms with Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish on a six-year deal
Wednesday afternoon, just ahead of a 4 p.m. deadline to get the agreement done.
Darvish will earn $60 million over six years, but has the ability to opt out
after five. Plus, Texas still has to pay the $51.7 million posting fee to the
Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters for Darvish.
It's money the club believes is well spent for a pitcher it believes can be a
No. 1 starter.
"It's not fair for me to say I see him as the No. 1, but he certainly has
the potential," club president Nolan Ryan said. "I don't want to put
that kind of pressure on him, but he's very unique."
Darvish, 25, will have his introductory news conference Friday at Rangers
Ballpark in Arlington. Based on his resume alone, the expectations figure to be
sky high. The two-time Pacific League MVP is 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA. He's the
biggest star in Japan and the Rangers hope he slides right into a rotation that
will be looking to guide Texas to a third-consecutive World Series trip.
While he’ll get his introduction in Texas Friday, the Rangers already know
plenty about Darvish.
"We saw a guy we felt was built to pitch innings," Texas general
manager Jon Daniels said. "It's a classic pitcher's build. He has a real
commitment to his conditioning and work ethic. We think he can pitch innings at
a high caliber for a large amount of time."
Where he slides into the Texas rotations remains to be seen, but his new
teammates are excited about the addition.
"We're glad to have him on board," left-hander Derek Holland said.
"We've got another pitcher for the rotation. Hopefully it works out
because we're excited to have him as part of the team. What I've seen of
him so far is very impressive."
While the Rangers were impressed enough to make a huge financial commitment to
Darvish, the feeling was mutual. Darvish wanted the Rangers to win the posting
for him because of the way they treated him and his family. The fact Texas has
become a baseball power didn't hurt matters either.
"The Rangers, more than any other team, showed great not only interest in
scouting him, but a lot of personal time in developing a relationship with him
over the last couple of years through all their scouts that visited him in
Japan," Darvish’s agent Arn Tellem said. "There was an instant
connection between Yu and his family and the Ranger organization that endured
through these negotiations."
As good as Darvish was in Japan, the Rangers still feel he can get better. Ryan said working with
pitching coach Mike Maddux will be a bonus. Darvish, who can throw as many as
seven pitches, also will have a chance to refine his pitching repertoire with
One thing the club doesn't want Darvish to do is come in thinking he has to be
the savior for the rotation. Texas already has four starters who reached double
figures in victories last season.
That may be the only real obstacle Darvish has.
"We're just looking for him to come into spring training, get in a routine
and do what he does," Daniels said. "We're not looking for a savior.
Just by the nature of this process, the international side of it, the attention
that's going to be on it, there are going to be some expectations that come with
that. We're certainly not going to add to that."