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December 19, 2011

Jon Daniels: 'Very exciting night' to land negotiating rights for Yu Darvish

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.

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.

“Very exciting night,” Texas general manager Jon Daniels said. “For our organization, our fans, our community, this is the first step in the process, but it’s an important one. We hope that it will end by signing Darvish to a contract.”

Daniels credited the ownership group, led by Bob Simpson, Ray Davis and Nolan Ryan, as critical in supporting the team’s desire to land Darvish.

The Rangers were visibly high on Darvish all of last season, sending several key members of the front office, including Daniels, to watch him in Japan. Daniels said the team has been scouting Darvish for three years, and was well aware of his talent.

“We’ve got a lot of great scouts,” Daniels said. “I did see him pitch [in Japan], but that wasn’t the only thing. I hadn’t been over there before, things of that nature. And we knew this was something we might get involved with.”

Darvish, a 6-foot-5, 215-pounder, throws a 92-95 mph fastball, and went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA last season. He had 276 strikeouts and issued 36 walks in 232 innings. In Japan, Darvish won three strikeout titles and two ERA titles.

He is the third Japanese-born pitcher on the Rangers, joining relievers Koji Uehara and Yoshinori Tateyama.

Darvish will join a rotation that lost last year’s ace, C.J. Wilson, to the Angels. Closer Neftali Feliz is also set to join the rotation. Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando are all set to return, although one could be traded or moved to the bullpen.

Daniels wouldn’t speculate on how the Darvish signing affected the current rotation because the team hadn’t signed him yet.

“Obviously we’re hopeful we can sign Darvish,” Daniels said. “At that point, we’ll have a very good problem on our hands. We’ll sort through our options when we need to.”

The Rangers didn’t make a strong effort to sign Wilson this offseason, seeing him land with the Angels for a five-year, $77.5 million contract. That will likely be significantly less than the total package for Darvish.

Asked about why Darvish over Wilson, Daniels reiterated that the club had yet to sign the player. Daniels also declined to give his own scouting report on Darvish.

Daniels and the Rangers will now begin negotiations with Darvish’s representatives, Arn Tellem and Don Nomura.

“We were pleased to learn that the Texas Rangers were the high bidders for Yu Darvish,” Tellem said in a statement. “The Rangers are an extraordinary franchise in an exceptional city with equally exceptional fans. Yu is honored to be prized so highly and recognized as a once-in-a-generation pitcher. We look forward to getting negotiations under way.”

Prior to the Rangers bid, the Boston Red Sox set a record posting bid of $51,111,111 in 2006 to secure the negotiating rights for Daisuke Matsuzaka. Boston then handed Matsuzaka a six-year, $52 million contract to push the total amount to more than $100 million.

-- Drew Davison

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Comments

You can never have enough good pitchers, a strange twist for the Rangers.

a pure knee-jerk panic move. I am sure they had no intention of making sure a huge bid until the Angels went and bought themselves a better team this offseason. Yeah, Texas had scouted the whirling Darvish extensively over 3 years, but I doubt it was for hte purpose of paying 51.7 mil plus a contract for.
So basically, we have enough money to throw at a guy who has never faced a major league hitter, has never pitched in Texas heat, or in the hitters ballpark that is the Ballpark at Arlington. However, we did not have the same amount of money to give to, oh, say Cliff Lee. A guy who HAD success pitching here.

I like the idea of getting Darvish. I don't like the idea that this feels like a panic desperation move due to Angels getting better while the Rangers keep letting pitching get away. Hopefully this guy really is a staff ace, but i'd have rather kept the one we had in Lee who IS one.

Daisuke Matsuzake has been quoted as saying the baseball in the U.S. is a different size, and the seams on the ball are completely different. Changes how the pitch comes across the plate.

He hasn't really given the Red Sox their value for roughly $100M.

AL hitters are superior to those in Japan, for the most part, so I suspect they will "light up" this Darvish guy.

Am far from excited about this guy. I'm betting he will be a bust. Hope I'm wrong!

Swami,

Since they have been scouting this guy for 3 years, I don't think this is a "knee-jerk" reaction to the Angels.

I don't know enough about Davrish to critize the deal, but I trust this front office to make the right moves, as they have been in the habit of doing. Don't bring up A-Fraud or Chan-OH NO- Park .. different front office and management team.

I think Nolan would have shot this down if he really thought this guy would not be able to perform here.

Just my very humble opinion.

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