GM wants Yu Darvish ready for 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the club will approach Yu Darvish about a contract extension "at the right time," adding however that they currently want the ace pitcher concerned only about preparing for the 2014 season.

"At some point, we'll sit down and talk with him just like we would on everybody," Daniels said this weekend at the team's Fan Fest at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. "He still has four years on his deal. I don't see a rush necessarily, but we'll address it at the right time.

"Right now, I'm focused on getting him in camp, getting him ready to make 33 starts this year."

Darvish's contract is a subject of conversation because of the seven-year, $155 million deal that fellow Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka signed with the New York Yankees last week.

Since Tanaka was posted under a new system, he got to negotiate with every team -- and only the team that ended up signing him had to pay $20 million to his Japanese team.

Darvish, who was posted after the 2011 season, received a six-year, $56 million contract (with $4 million added if he's healthy in the final few years of the deal) after the Rangers paid $51.7 million to his Japanese team. That gave the Rangers exclusive negotiating rights to sign the right-hander.

Tanaka, therefore, is making $99 million more in guaranteed money than Darvish, even though many scouts believe Tanaka does not possess as much upside as Darvish.

Darvish can opt out of the final year of his deal (2017) if he wins the Cy Young Award in the next three seasons or finishes in the top four of the voting in two of the next three seasons.

The 27-year-old Darvish was the American League Cy Young runner-up to Max Scherzer last season after going 13-9 with a 2.83 ERA and leading the majors with 277 strikeouts.

Daniels said he hopes that Darvish will use Tanaka's deal, just like the contracts that other top pitchers have received in recent seasons, as motivation.

"When you're at the top of your profession in any area, you're always kind of aware of what the guys in a similar category get," Daniels said. "We haven't talked to him about it."

Rangers manager Ron Washington announced on Saturday that Darvish would be the club's Opening Day starter, assuming he is healthy. Darvish had an injection at the end of the season to help calm some inflammation in his lower back.

The club is getting good reports on Darvish, who is going through his normal offseason routine in Japan.