Yu Darvish, Japan’s Best Pitcher
The Texas Rangers had a plan all the time, it appears. Passing up the opportunity to compete aggressively for the free agent contracts of C.J. Wilson, the Rangers’ ace pitcher of 2011, and Mark Buehrle, a proven big-time pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, the Rangers chose instead to keep their powder dry and pay big money for the negotiating rights to Japan’s best pitcher, Yu Darvish.
Reportedly, the posting fee for the rights to Darvish was $51.7 million. The team will have 30 days to negotiate a contract with the pitcher. It is expected that the Rangers will offer a six-year deal for an amount between $100 million and $125 million (and that will include the posting fee)..
Called by Bobby Valentine one of the “four best pitchers in the world" (Source: ESPN), the 25-year-old Darvish already has over 90 wins to his credit and a lifetime ERA of less than 2.00.
The Rangers have been scouting Darvish for a while. General manager Jon Daniels took a trip to Japan during the summer of 2011, along with one of his top scouting advisers, to watch him pitch. It had been reported that they were very impressed with him, but in recent days, the Rangers had been downplaying their enthusiasm about bringing him to Texas.
Free Agent Rumors vs. What the Rangers Wanted
Only a few weeks ago, the Rangers lost C.J. Wilson to their division rivals, the L.A. Angels. ESPN Dallas reported that the Rangers never really made an official offer to Wilson. Wilson wanted a longer term on his contract than what the team was willing to offer the 31-year-old. Coming off of two years of postseason failure, Wilson’s stock value among the Rangers' faithful followers had taken a nosedive. Apparently, management felt the same way.