ARLINGTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish will be pitching in 2012 in a Rangers uniform.
The Rangers reached an agreement on a 6-year deal worth approximately $60 million with the 25-year-old Japanese pitching star before the 4 p.m. Dallas time deadline on Wednesday.
The agreement comes 30 days after the Rangers won the right to negotiate with Darvish and his representatives, Don Nomura and Arn Tellem, by submitting a record $51.7 million posting bid (more than the $51.1 the Red Sox posted for Daisuke Matsuzaka before the 2007 season). The club will now send the Nippon-Ham Fighters that payment and Darvish will come to the United States to pitch in the big leagues for the first time.
The two sides worked nearly through the night on Tuesday and then all day Wednesday to hammer out an agreement just prior to the deadline. Darvish is expected to arrive in town for a news conference on Friday. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels is expected to speak with the media tonight.
Darvish was 18-6 with a league-high 1.44 ERA and 276 strikeouts in 2011. He walked just 36 batters in 232 innings. Scouts have raved about Darvish’s fastball command and what some say is a seven-pitch repertoire, which includes about everything but a changeup.
Darvish, who stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs around 220 pounds, pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was 18 years old when he began his professional career and after a relatively average rookie season, he went 12-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 115 strikeouts in his second season (2006). He’s been consistent ever since, going 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA in his career in Japan.
The Rangers believe he will be a critical upper-rotation starter for years to come and will do so as he hits what should be the prime of his career. It’s an important addition for a staff that does not have a true No. 1, after C.J. Wilson signed a five-year, $77.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels in December.