Does Kei Igawa's ghost loom over Darvish's future?
Yu Darvish is moving to North Texas!
The Texas Rangers announced Wednesday that the team has agreed to terms with the ace Japanese pitcher on a 6-year deal that will keep Darvish in North Texas through 2017. The deal was announced just moments before a deadline was set to expire that would have sent the pitcher back to Nippon next season.
Exact details of the deal are not yet known and the Rangers generally don't comment on financial terms. That being said, it's being widely reported the deal is worth about $10 million per year.
The Rangers will hold a press conference at 5 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the deal. Attending will be Rangers CEO and President Nolan Ryan, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and the representatives for Darvish, Arn Tellem and Don Nomura.
Darvish is expected to travel to Texas and be introduced at the Ballpark later this week.
The Rangers began negotiating with Darvish after they won exclusive negotiating rights last month. The Rangers ponied up $51.7 million to the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Darvish's club in Japan, just to be able to talk to the pitcher. Had Darvish and the Rangers not come to terms on a contract that fee would have been returned to Texas.
Darvish, 25, has never thrown a pitch in the major leagues but has a sub-2.00 ERA in Japan along with a dazzling .89 WHIP. He is an absolute beast for a pitcher, standing 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighing more than 200 pounds. He has a wide selection of pitches in his arsenal, including a fastball approaching 95 mph.
While the Rangers haven't said where they expect Darvish to fall in the rotation, it's safe to assume he'll be high in the order. Red Fever blogger Adam Boedeker speculated on the order in a post on Wednesday here -- including what it may look like if the Rangers also pick up aging righty Roy Oswalt.
Darvish pitched for Japan in the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He's won two MVP awards in the Japanese Pacific League and has twice been honored it the top pitcher designation.
Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 22.