This will be a big year for Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish.
The righty enters the 2017 season as perhaps his final year in a Rangers uniform. The 30-year old will become a free agent at the end of the season. One of the most sought after pitchers to come out of Japan, the Rangers signed Darvish to a six-year, $56 million deal in 2012. Although there have been brief talks recently between Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and Darvish’s representatives, nothing serious has come from it.
“I am really grateful to the Texas Rangers for giving me that contract,” Darvish said at the Rangers Awards Dinner last week. “They have taken care of me very well. I want to show the Rangers what I can do and they were right in giving me that contract.”
Darvish is also entering his second season since having Tommy John surgery and at times last year showed signs of the dominance he displayed prior to the injury. Once he returned in May, Darvish went 7-5 with a 3.41 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 17 starts. He’s 46-32 with a 3.29 ERA in 100 career starts with the Rangers.
However, the 2016 season didn’t end the way Darvish and the Rangers would have preferred. In Game 2 of the American League Division Series against Toronto, Darvish gave up a career-worst four homers in the 5-3 loss. The Blue Jays would go to sweep the best-of-five series.
"I would love to pitch in that kind of situation again this year," said Darvish. "And I would like to pitch very well."
He also added that he just started throwing again and feels “really good” going into spring training next month.
Darvish will enter his fifth year with the Rangers and without any serious progress towards extending his contract; it could be his final one in Arlington. However, he's more focused on business on the mound.
“It’s not about my contract,” said Darvish. “Coming back from Tommy John for the second year, I want to see how my body reacts and how I do.”