Rangers bid $51.7 million, win Darvish sweepstakes

Rangers bid $51.7 million, win Darvish sweepstakes

Rangers bid $51.7 million, win Darvish sweepstakes

"Yu Darvish is coming to Texas. At least the Rangers are the only MLB team he can play for next season.

MLB announced late Monday night that the Rangers won the negotiating rights for the star Japanese right-hander. Yahoo! Sports reported the bid to be a record $51.7 million. The bid, which exceeds the $51.1MM Boston paid for the rights to speak with Daisuke Matsuzaka five years ago

Now, Texas has a 30-day window to negotiate a contract with the 25-year-old Darvish. If a deal can't be reached, the Rangers will not pay the posting fee.

"The Texas Rangers are pleased and excited to have acquired the rights to negotiate with Yu Darvish," the team said in a statement. "Our organization has scouted Mr. Darvish for the last several years and has been very impressed with his abilities and accomplishments. We believe he would be a great addition to the Texas Rangers pitching staff.

"We look forward to the next step of this process in the very near future with Mr. Darvish and his representatitves, Arn Tellem and Don Nomura."

Darvish posted a 1.44 ERA with 10.7 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 232 innings this past season and he hasn't posted an ERA above 2.00 since 2007. It has been rumored it will take $100 Million to sign him, not including the posting fee.

Agent Arn Tellem issued a statement explaining that he was pleased to learn the Rangers were the high bidders.

"The Rangers are an extraordinary franchise in an exceptional city with equally exceptional fans," Tellem said. '"Yu is honored to be prized so highly and recognized as a once-in-a-generation pitcher. We look forward to getting negotiations underway."

If the Rangers can close the deal, Darvish would join a rotation that already includes five starters: Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando and former closer Neftali Feliz, moved out of the bullpen when the club signed free-agent reliever Joe Nathan this offseason.

“If we’re able to sign him (Darvish), then we’ll have a very good problem on our hands,” Daniels said.

It’s a major move for the Rangers, buoyed by a lucrative television contract and consecutive AL championships under a new ownership group led by Chuck Greenberg and his partner, Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan. But the team is still chasing its first World Series title – and Texas knows all too well that nothing is done until it is done.

Despite a serious effort, the Rangers were unable to re-sign free-agent ace Cliff Lee following the 2010 season. They made it back to the World Series anyway and were within one strike of winning it all – twice – before the St. Louis Cardinals rallied to take the trophy.

Then the Rangers lost their latest ace, C.J. Wilson, when the left-hander signed a $77.5 million, five-year contract with the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels this month.

The Fighters gave him approval to negotiate with a major league club through the posting system. Daisuke Matsuzaka and Ichiro Suzuki went to the major leagues under the system.

Darvish pitched in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was a member of the Japanese national team that won the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

The 6-foot-5 Darvish has superb control and throws seven effective pitches, including a two-seam fastball introduced during the 2010 season. It’s expected he would make a top-of-the-rotation major league starter.

“Darvish is the No. 1 pitcher in Japan, but we want him to become the ace of the world,” Nippon Ham team representative Toshimasa Shimada said this month.

Darvish turned pro in 2005 at 18. His professional career got off to a rocky start when he was caught smoking in a pachinko parlor on an off day during his first spring training, despite not being old enough to legally smoke nor to gamble at the time.

After going 5-5 with a 3.53 ERA in his rookie season with the Fighters, Darvish had a breakout year in 2006, going 12-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 115 strikeouts.

In 2007, Darvish won the Eiji Sawamura Award presented to the top pitcher in Japanese professional baseball after posting a 15-5 record with a 1.82 ERA and a league-leading 210 strikeouts.

“Obviously, it’s a very exciting night for our organization, our fans and our community,” Daniels said. “We’re looking for any opportunity to improve our club, not just for next season but for the long term.”



By The Baseball Page
Tuesday, 20 Dec 2011

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