With their 2011 “ace” C.J. Wilson Los Angeles-bound last offseason, the Texas Rangers went out and got 25-year-old Japanese sensation Yu Darvish to step into the front of the rotation. And he did, pretty well. Darvish was arguably the Rangers’ best pitcher when he was on, and even earned an All-Star nod in his first season in the Major Leagues.
Less than a year after landing Darvish, a group from North Texas is heading back to The Land of the Rising Sun to have a look at another pitcher, per the Dallas Morning News.
Unlike Darvish, Shohei Otani, 18, is still an amateur, fresh out of high school, meaning that if he opts to go to the MLB rather than enter Nippon Professional Baseball, the team that gets him won’t have to pay a posting fee--and those are usually pretty hefty (Texas paid more than $57 million for the rights for Darvish last year).
The group, which met with Otani and his parents for upwards of three hours this week, was headed by the Rangers director of professional scouting, Josh Boyd. They brought the young hurler a pair of gifts--one baseball signed by Rangers’ president (and Hall of Fame pitcher) Nolan Ryan, and one signed by Darvish, who remains a major celebrity in Japan.