ARLINGTON, Texas -- It took nearly every minute of the 30-day negotiating window to get Yu Darvish to Texas.
Those involved in the negotiations worked day and night until Wednesday afternoon, securing a deal to bring the celebrated Japanese star to the Rangers and right into the middle of what should be a hotly contested AL West race.
It took years of scouting, a gaggle of frequent flyer miles, a face-to-face meeting in Arlington between Darvish and Rangers personnel a few weeks ago, a recruiting video and gallons of coffee. Oh, and a willingness by ownership to send a check for $51.7 million to the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters to go along with the $60 million they'll be sending Darvish's way in the next six years.
The Rangers need to be right about this one.
The posting fee and contract amount are more than Daisuke Matsuzaka cost the Boston Red Sox a few years ago. That's not by accident. The Rangers feel Darvish is not Matsuzaka, who won 15 games his first season (with a 4.40 ERA) and 18 in his second (with a 2.90 ERA), but has struggled to stay healthy and be consistent the past three seasons.
The Rangers see a 6-foot-5, 220-pound pitcher with a full repertoire of pitches and the ability to command the fastball, change speeds and get batters out. They see a guy they feel has the right makeup to succeed. Their scouts have said he's got drive and determination, rebounds from rough innings and wants to prove that a pitching star from Japan can become one of the best pitchers in the big leagues for years to come.
Soon, we'll all get to see if that's true.