The Rangers and Yu Darvish agreed to a multiyear contract Wednesday afternoon only moments before the 4 p.m. deadline to sign the coveted Japanese star. A press conference with team officials is expected this evening, and another introducing the right-hander will likely be held in a couple days.
Darvish will join the reigning American League champions on a six-year deal worth approximately $60 million, a final total that is less than many were expecting when negotiations opened 30 days ago. The Rangers will pay a $51.7 million posting fee to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters within four business days.
A group of club officials, led by general manager Jon Daniels, negotiated at Rangers Ballpark with agents Arn Tellem and Don Nomura the past two days to bring the process to its conclusion. The contract is only slightly more valuable than the six-year, $52 million deal Daisuke Matsuzaka signed with Boston in February 2007.
That deal included several contract perks, such as flights to Japan paid by the Red Sox and a support group. The Rangers will have a support network, including an interpreter, in place for Darvish.
Most scouts believe that Darvish is a better prospect than Matsuzaka was four years ago. Darvish, who turns 26 in August, went 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA in his career in Japan. At 6-foot-5, he is a power pitcher with a fastball that clocks at 95 mph but also has a wide variety of off-speed pitches that he can command.
"He knows how to manipulate the baseball," Rangers manager Ron Washington said on Tuesday.
Darvish will join a rotation that will include probably Opening Day starter Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz. Alexi Ogando and Matt Harrison could land in the bullpen, though Ogando's strong relief showing in the postseason makes him a more likely candidate.
-- Jeff Wilson