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A Texas Yu-step: Rangers win rights to Yu Darvish

The Texas Rangers have won the right to negotiate with Japanese pitching phenom Yu Darvish. The next question: how high can the Rangers go in negotiating a contract for the 25-year-old? We know how high the Rangers were willing to go just get get the rights to talk to Darvish, who is ready for the major leagues after dominating Japanese baseball for the past seven seasons. According to Yahoo! Sports, Texas bid a record $51.7 million posting fee — topping the $51,111,111.11 the Boston Red Sox bid in 2006 to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Now, Darvish and the Rangers have 30 days to work out a contract. If they can’t agree, Darvish will return to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters for another season and Texas doesn’t have to pay the posting fee. If a deal is reached, the posting fee is paid. The Rangers figure to be motivated negotiators. Having lost ace C.J. Wilson to the rival Los Angeles Angels, Darvish would fit nicely into a rotation that also figures to include Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis and erstwhile closer Neftali Feliz. His celebrity-embracing personality would also give a jolt to a club making great inroads in relevance in their own market, coming off consecutive AL pennants.

Darvish is represented by U.S.-based Arn Tellem and Don Nomura, the Japanese-American agent who represented Hideo Nomo when he came to the USA from Japan. Nomura has been a critic of the posting system, suggesting that the top three bidders be allowed to negotiate with a player in order to negate the threat of a team putting in a high posting bid and not reaching a contract agreement, thus blocking opponents from picking up the player. Nomura represented pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma last year in the first case of a player not signing with a team that won posting rights. The Athletics had the high bid but Iwakuma returned to Japan. He is now a free agent.

But Darvish is the most anticipated talent coming out of Japan since Matsuzaka and, despite Matsuzaka’s mixed results with the Red Sox, the Rangers see him as a roster-changing force, the showpiece of their offseason.

via A Texas Yu-step: Rangers win rights to Darvish.


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