Does Kei Igawa's ghost loom over Darvish's future?
Tim Kurkjian, a former Dallas-based journalist and current ESPN resident baseball expert, had an interesting tidbit on Sunday.
There's been a lot of speculation for the past year or so that Japanese star pitcher Yu Darvish will be making his way over the Pacific to test his Major League water, and the Texas Rangers have long been tossed around as a possible suitor for the 25-year-old, 6-5 pitcher.
Kurkjian reiterated that idea on Sunday when he listed the Rangers by name, "among others" as teams that could go after Darvish.
There's no doubt the Rangers are in need of a quality frontline starter, but those just don't grow on trees. With CC Sabathia re-upping with the New York Yankees on Monday, the one true ace on the free-agent market is no longer there.
C.J. Wilson is a free agent and will likely command more money than the Rangers are willing to spend, especially coming off his painfully bad postseason that didn't help inspire hope that he could be an ace despite his fine regular season.
Wilson might still be back, as he seems to enjoy it in Arlington and is part of a team that has gone to two straight World Series.
But Darvish, by all accounts, is special and could be penciled in at the front of many rotations in baseball.
Just take a look at his 2011 stats in Japan: 223 innings pitched, 1.49 ERA, .843 WHIP, 261 strikeouts and 35 walks. Those are unreal. And they must be taken with a grain of salt because Japanese hitters are nothing like Major League hitters. But still, those are incredible.
He's not the first Japanese pitcher to come this way with a lot of hype. The most recent, biggest name was when Boston signed Daisuke Matsuzaka, who had one good season then started a massive decline.
Signing a Japanese player isn't as simple as just agreeing to a contract. Teams must pay a posting fee to even earn the right to negotiate with the player, and that costs millions of dollars. Now, if you don't end up signing the player, you get the posting fee back, but it's stlll kind of a circus.
Is Darvish worth it? We'll find out in a few months whether he's in Arlington or somewhere else, likely Boston or New York.