Japanese phenom Yu Darvish, the pride of Tokyo and Tehran, has been acquired in a sealed bid from the NipponHam Fighters by the Texas Rangers.The bid for Darvish was reportedly $51.5 Million Dollars. This is $600,000 more than the 2005 posting fee for Daisuke Matsuzaka by the Boston Red Sox. However, the record still stands in Japan with Dice-K because $51 Million U.S. dollars today is jsut under ¥4 Billion Yen but it was almost ¥6 Billion back then.
Of course we can talk about currency exchanges all night to avoid the fact that Texas just got the best pitcher available on the market, apologies to C.J. Wilson but Darvish is about the wickedest whiplash whippersnapper of a hurler in all of professional baseball. Here is the money quote from LoneStarBall scouting report on Darvish, the SBN Rangers blog that we love to hate so dearly...
Darvish throws a two seamer, four seamer, and a cut fastball, with the four seamer supposedly getting up to 95 mph. He also has a slider and a curveball, along with a changeup, although it is questionable whether his change will actually get much use in MLB, as it seems to be his sixth best pitcher.
He throws hard, he strikes guys out, and he gets swings and misses.
What remains to be seen is how this will translate to the U.S. Japanese hitters tend to be less selective than MLB hitters, with the result being that Japanese pitchers may seem to "nibble" when they come to the States, since they are used to being able to get batters to chase balls out of the zone. Without a changeup, I guess you could worry about how he would fare against lefties, but his cut fastball is supposed to be good, and a cut fastball is a good weapon against opposite-handed hitters.
Best case scenario: All that money in the world is not enough to stop the jet stream carrying those hard thrown balls into the stands when whacked by Angels hitters.
Worst case scenario: Every fifth game of the season will see him give up fewer than three runs in 7 IP (unless they decide to give him the Neftali Feliz treatment and put him in the bullpen for two years as wryly suggested by sportswriter Jeff Sullivan).
The American League West race just got tighter, the Billionaire Bush Buddies ponied up the dough. Now they have thirty days to sign the 25-year old, who is thought to be seeking a six-year, $90 Million deal.
The Blue Jays were thought to have the deal in the bag early on and it would not be surprising if their bid was within a million or two bucks of the eventual winner. The Cubs were mentioned as dark horse bidders. This move certainly pressures the Mariners to sign Prince Fielder to compete in suddenly the most interesting division in baseball, but Toronto also has an aching reason to get better with all the cash they could have thrown at the Hambone Foo Fighters.
So the Rangers rotation as it stands now is:
Darvish, Feliz, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis.
Well... at least there is little possibility of Arlington getting Gio Gonzalez.