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Rangers win rights to Yu Darvish with record $51.7 million bid

Dec 19, 2011, 11:14 PM EDT

darvish getty rectangle Getty Images

UPDATE: It’s official. The Rangers have confirmed that they won rights to Darvish.

11:10 PM: It’s all over.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Rangers have secured exclusive negotiating rights for right-hander Yu Darvish with a record $51.7 million bid.

No official confirmation yet, but if true, it will top the $51,111,111 sum that the Red Sox paid for exclusive negotiating rights to right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka back in November of 2006. They ended up agreeing to a six-year, $52 million contract.

The Rangers now have 30 days to work out a contract with Darvish. The 25-year-old right-hander is believed to be seeking a five-year deal in the range of $75 million, which could push the total investment north of $120 million. He is represented stateside by agent Arn Tellem.

Darvish went 18-7 with a career-low 1.44 ERA and a 276/36 K/BB ratio in 232 innings this season with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Standing at 6-foot-5 and 185 pounds, he has a 1.99 career ERA over seven seasons in Japan.

The Rangers were considered one of the front-runners for Darvish all along, as general manager Jon Daniels scouted him in person this past season. If the two sides can work out a deal, Darvish will join a rotation which is set to include some combination of Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando.

No word on how close the Blue Jays were to the Rangers’ bid, but it will be interesting to see where they go from here. They are loaded with prospects, so they could pursue either Matt Garza or Gio Gonzalez via trade. And who knows, perhaps they could make a run at free agent first baseman Prince Fielder.

117 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. rooney24 - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    So, now that the Rangers bid the highest posting fee, is there anything to stop them from lowballing Darvish when offering a contract? From everything that I have heard, if they can’t come to an agreement on a contract, the player returns to Japan and the Rangers get the posting fee money back.

    Does anyone know if they lose any percent of that? If not, why would some team not just bid $100 million for the posting fee, and then just not offer a reasonable contract, knowing the player won’t take it? That would keep that player from going to your competitors, yet you would get your money back. Kind of a sleazy way to do business, but I have to believe some team will do that in the next few years. Is there anything to stop that?

    • uyf1950 - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:48 AM

      Yes the team would get back all of it’s posting money every dime. However, I have to believe that MLB would frown on a team being so transparent about not negotiating in good faith with the player and his agent.

      BTW, in that case MLB can and would probably make available to the Japanese team that holds the players rights the next highest bid. If the Japanese team accepts the next highest bid they start the negotiations all over again with the player and that ML team.

      While it certainly is possible for the ML team to “low ball” the player with a contract. I think in practical terms it’s highly unlikely that they would make it so obvious that it is apparent to everyone.

      • Richard In Big D - Dec 20, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        That being the case, I can’t believe the Evil Empire hasn’t done this every time…

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