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Rangers sign Yu Darvish to six-year, $60 million deal, bringing total investment to $112 million

Jan 18, 2012, 5:03 PM EST

darvish getty japan team Getty Images

With the 30-day negotiating window set to expire this afternoon Yu Darvish and the Rangers have agreed to a six-year contract that will bring the Japanese phenom to Texas, with Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reporting that the deal is worth $60 million with an additional $10 million in potential incentives.

Last month the Rangers bid $51,703,411 for exclusive negotiating rights to Darvish, who at age 25 has won two Pacific League MVP awards and is 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA in seven seasons.

That posting fee goes to Darvish’s old team, the Nippon-Ham Fighters. Had the two sides not reached an agreement on a contract the Rangers would have been refunded the entire amount and Darvish would have remained in Japan for this season.

With a total investment of nearly $112 million the Rangers are paying about 10 percent more for Darvish than the Red Sox did for Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006, when they spent $51,111,111 on the posting fee and signed him to a six-year, $52 million contract. Matsuzaka has been a disappointment in Boston with a 4.25 ERA in 105 starts while struggling with injuries and control, but Darvish is generally considered a better, higher-upside pitcher than Matsuzaka was in 2006.

Darvish essentially replaces C.J. Wilson in the Rangers’ rotation for about $34 million more, although with Neftali Feliz expected to become a starter after two years as Texas’ closer one of Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison, or Derek Holland is bullpen bound. Ogando, who spent his rookie season as a full-time reliever before having success as a starter last year, has already said he’d be willing to move back to the bullpen to make room for Darvish.

  1. whittle79 - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    10 million yr is well worth it !!way to be rangers !!

    • paperlions - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:31 PM

      Yeah, it would be, but they are paying $18.5M/year, with $51M of that up front (making it more expensive than your typical 6-year $111M deal would be).

      He could still be worth it. If he avoids injury most of that time, he’ll still be a better deal than whatever the Phillies get out of Howard the next 5 years for their $125M.

      • brannon521 - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:18 PM

        It actually is less of a risk than other 6 year deals because the $52M was for the bid so it doesn’t go towards the payroll. Only the $60M does. It actually was outside the operating cost from the two billionaire owners. Also, baseball is all guaranteed money so there is no increased risk with up front money.

      • paperlions - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:26 PM

        It is increased cost and increased risk…increased cost because $51M paid now is worth more that $51M paid over 6 years….increased risk because he does have a lot of adjustments to make coming over to the US and adjusting to how ML teams operate, and the better competition.

    • djpostl - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      Lol 10 per year huh? Guess we find another team that doesn’t count the posting fee in the mix. Try almost 19 per year.

  2. phillieschamps2012 - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    2012 Yu Darvish Projection:

    24-2, 1.54 ERA, 295 K, 9 Shutouts, 15 complete games.

    • rexryanisablowhard - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:16 PM

      perhaps if he stayed in Japan

    • bowens3181 - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:19 PM

      I’d probably give him around 16-18 wins, an ERA hovering around 3, around 220 Ks

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:01 PM

        17-8, 3.40ERA, 187K’s, 4.6 WAR

      • djpostl - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:51 PM

        Lol. How many AL Pitchers had an ERA around 3 last year? Not many. This guy will be along the lines of Nova last year. 16 wins and a mid to high threes ERA.

    • phukyouk - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:23 PM

      You know i was sure that this was ‘cepts but cepts was never delusional… just an asshole. Please share your crack with the rest of the class

      • paperlions - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:27 PM

        It’s him. I think that was sarcasm.

  3. rexryanisablowhard - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Not brilliant…so he will make twice what the rest of the starters will make combined in ’12 and they spend $35 to $45M more on on him than a proven CJ Wilson?

  4. humanexcrement - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    He will be an upgrade over CJ Wilson, but too bad they couldn’t land them both.

  5. sportsdrenched.com - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    I guess that means don’t plan on the Rangers going away any time soon.

    With the Rangers & Angels both having big time TV contracts expect these two to duke it out on the field and in the board room for the next 20 years.

    • miketreedy - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:27 PM

      I think the Rangers are here to stay. They are still young and have a great farm system. They also have money and an expanding fan base (Cowboys who?). Plus Nolan Ryan has proven to be great at running the organization.

    • djpostl - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      Keep in mind almost all of the Rangers roster is entering either arbitration years or the point where they are due huge FA paydays. That payroll is going to reach Phillies territory in the next couple of years. They will have money to spend, but the issue is how they spend it (avoiding luxury tax rates etc…)

  6. phillieschamps2012 - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    There is a 5:15 CST press conference on the Rangers MLB site. Here’s the link texas.rangers.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=tex

    I’m curious to watch this just to hear the dude talk. I wonder how good his English is. I’m also curious to see what he thinks of the Arlington area and how it compares to his native Japan.

    • miketreedy - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:29 PM

      I heard on the Ticket that he won’t be here until Friday and they will be having an introduction press conference then.

  7. nightrain42 - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    CJ was a post season bum. To stay with the Rangers, they wld hve had to overpay for him. He wanted to go back to Cali. I wld rather take a chance on Yu’s upside @ 25 than overpay for CJ. Look at Cj’s Japaneese #’s and Yu’s.

  8. wilkisoft - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Yuuuu better be worth it.

    • tseekins - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:11 PM

      Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu got struck the F*&^ out!

    • tseekins - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:13 PM

      gotta up the pitch and volume, as in cowboy yodeling (they ARE in TX…)
      YuuuuuUUUUUUUU when ever he takes the mound…

  9. wlubake - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    This is the low end of the speculated contract (I read $60-90 MM over 6 years). Seems like a “win” for the Rangers, assuming he is what they think he is.

    To the extent they saved money, it is time to get Oswalt and Prince on the phone (in that order).

  10. miketreedy - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Somewhere in Japan the owners of the Nippon-Ham Fighters are doing the Ham Fighter dance. The made $50m bucks. They are probably more excited than the Rangers or Darvish.

  11. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    I’m sure he has good stuff but the fact that he throws hard while most other Japanese pitchers don’t might be part of what made him so dominant. I think he’ll have a good rookie year but once players around the league see what he’s got they’ll be able to adjust pretty quickly. If he stays healthy he will probably be an above average pitcher but not elite.

    • Francisco (FC) - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:16 PM

      Which is fine for $10MM a year, The Phillies are paying Joe Blanton $8.5 MM. Now it is true that there is the matter of a $50 MM bid payout but that money doesn’t count against Roster nor Luxury Tax, it’s one time dip in the piggy bank that if you plan for it shouldn’t affect your regular payroll related baseball operations.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:22 PM

        Yup, if he stays healthy he should be worth the money.

      • djpostl - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:55 PM

        Except you ain’t paying ten per year. That posting fee wasn’t donated by the Easter Bunny, the Rangers DID have to pay it. So 6 years at 111 million and change. More like 18 per year.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 19, 2012 at 4:54 PM

        It’s a sunk cost. You’re not paying that posting fee every year, it was a one-time thing.

  12. bozosforall - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Poor Rangers…I never thought that I would ever see a team more desperate to buy a title than the Red Sox. So desperate that they grossly overpay on posting fees just to get AAAA talent (like Dice K) and so desperate that they allowed a culture of heavy PED usage (Juan Gonzales, et al…much like the Red Sox allowed both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz – both of whom tested positive for PEDs in 2003) to go unchecked throughout the entirety of the steroid era.

    • angrycorgi - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:00 PM

      Buy a title?? The rangers have been spanking the yankees for the past two years without spending much at all. The spend on ONE player theyve been scouting for two frickingyears and they ar trying o buy a title?? You yankee fans are really bright…..

      • djpostl - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:56 PM

        If by spanking for two years you mean in the ALCS in 2010 and then going 2-5 versus them last year then yes, you are right.

  13. El Bravo - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    The hurling Darvish.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:19 PM

      Only because a Whirling Dervish would go over like a fart in church down in Texas.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:24 PM

        You guys are killin’ it! Hahaha!

  14. thatsmewithmyboomstick - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    @rexryanisablowhard,

    Maybe you should take your fire starting, plane flying, knife fighting talents to Orange County with C.J. so the 2 of you can pursue like-hobbies instead of championships together. The Rangers know what Wilson has, and they didn’t put up much of a fight to keep him. That says more about C.J. than it does about the potential of Yu.

    And to the blow hard who copy and pasted 3 different reports into this post, how about doing some of your own journalism or at least looking at what it says before doing the Ctrl+C –> Ctrl+V dance. Derek Holland to the bullpen potentially? Dude who had 4+ complete game shutouts last season may go to the bullpen? OK…

    • stlouis1baseball - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:07 PM

      Boomstick: Hahaha! Possibly. But at least give him credit for the Rexryanisablowhard handle.
      It made me laugh.

    • rexryanisablowhard - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      It’s just my opinion, no need to get all agro. I could care less about the Angels or CJ, or any of the other nonsense you speak of. Wilson’s 2 years as a starter are impressive enough to warrant his new contract, especially since his numbers will probably improve pitching as #2 or #3 starter and going from the #1 hitters park in Arlington to the #27 in Anaheim. Regardless of whatever Darvish accomplished in Japan, until he’s proves himself in America, he’s a big risk at those dollars. If the Ranger system is so stacked, and considering all the big young arms moved this offseason, the Rangers might have been better served making a trade and using the Yu dollars to sign a Fielder.

      • wlubake - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        The reason the farm system in stacked is because Daniels and Levine know their stuff. If they think signing Darvish, after scouting him for 2 years in Japan, is a better move than (1) trading for some decent young starter or (2) resigning CJ, I believe they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt.

  15. paint771 - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    This is a very risky signing.

    But, as a Blue Jays fan, I’d be flat-out lying if I said I’d be anything less than psyched about it, if it were my team that had come out on top in bidding.

    Although, man, effectively 18.7 mil a year for a pitcher who has never thrown a pitch in the majors? Hell, that money would be a risk for just about ANY pitcher. But if you can afford it, the upside’s sure there, and it’s not like pitchers with high potential/likelihood to be aces grow on trees.

  16. uyf1950 - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Hamels agents right about now is doing cartwheels in the isle. The Ranges just spent/invested $112MM for 6 years of control in a pitcher that hasn’t pitched a single inning of ball in the Major Leagues.

    Anyone who thinks Hamels signs for anything less the 6 years/$132MM is dreaming.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:10 PM

      Keep thinking that and you will be watching him play for another team come 2013.

    • Francisco (FC) - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      It doesn’t matter what he thinks, Amaro’s the GM not him.

    • paperlions - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      I don’t think this deal has any effect whatsoever on Hamels….in general, they just don’t (ask Fielder, every elite player is a market unto himself, with dynamics quite different from more easily replaced players)….the biggest effect is that we know for sure that the Rangers won’t be bidding on him. Especially with the new luxury tax rules, there is only so much money to go around…every dollar spent is one less available for to be spent on future FAs.

    • paperlions - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:39 PM

      …and it really doesn’t even matter what Amaro thinks, if the owner won’t open up the vault to pay him. If Amaro does have mind powers, it is getting the owner to approve some of his negotiated contracts.

    • rexryanisablowhard - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:49 PM

      If Hamels duplicates or improves on 2011, he will certainly get $20M+ a year for 5 or 6 years from some team. There will be a new Dodger owner by then looking to win, so I’m sure things will heat up with them back in the fray. Hamels, Cain, and Greinke will all be under 30 and free agents next winter, and joining them in the over 30 crowd will be Haren and Shields, look out!

    • whatthehellisansky - Jan 19, 2012 at 9:29 AM

      Hes in his prime, hes a lefty, and hes won a world series MVP. Oh, btw he had a great year last year.

      He just got $15m in ARBITRATION.

      Barring injury or a total crash n burn season, He will get at least $20m/year.

    • djpostl - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:59 PM

      Um, yeah he will get Lee money. Because he is nearly as damn good (a slight soph slump in 2009 but otherwise just as good…inc postseason 2008) and more importantly he’ll be a half decade younger than Lee was on his big payday when it comes time to sign.

      The big reason why Yu got the Rangers to spend 111 mil on him was because he is both talented AND young. Teams see that combo in a starter (let alone one who has shined on the big stage like Hamels did in 2008) and they open their wallets big time.

  17. jwbiii - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:11 PM

  18. rebeljpl - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    There is a press conference tonight at 5:15 central but apparently now they’re saying that the Darvish introductory pressser isn’t until 5:15 Friday.

  19. rebeljpl - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Apparently from what I’ve read Darvish apparently speaks some English but understands alot. Both parents lived in the US at some point so he’s been somewhat exposed to western society. I did hear that they were working a translator and media assistant into his contract. I’ve never heard him speak English so don’t know really what to expect there.

  20. deathmonkey41 - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    I hope he’s terrible, just so a headline in one of the papers is “Yu Suck!”

  21. illcomm - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    A comment on the first post. The salary isn’t 10 mil per year, it is between 18 and 20. So no “way to go.”. That is a heck of a lot for a pictcher who has been overworked. You’ll get one or two good years and some average ones.

    • phillyphreak - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      The salary is still $10 million per year. The Rangers just paid 51.7 million up front and, as FC pointed out above, that amount doesn’t count towards the Luxury Tax. So despite the fact that the total investment was over $110 million, Darvish only sees $10 mil/year. To evaluate the deal at its end, I think we have to evaluate it in the context of amount/year for the player. The team already decided it could afford the posting fee.

      • djpostl - Jan 19, 2012 at 3:01 PM

        We don’t care what kind of voodoo economics you want to spin for “his salary is just ten per year”.

        They paid 11 mil and they have him for 6 years. That means his true cost is 18 per year.

        You want to spin some bullshit go into politics or work on wall street.

      • phillyphreak - Jan 19, 2012 at 3:27 PM

        1) I conceded that the total investment was over $11 million. The Rangers evaluated the situation in a much better way than you, I or anyone outside of the organization could to see if they could afford the posting fee. You’re free to evaluate him based on 18/year if you wish. I’ve seen it both ways. Importantly, without the attitude you used.

        2) Darvish sees $0,000,000 of the posting fee. He sees ~$10 million a year. The Rangers negotiated a salary with him after they submitted the posting fee. Plus the posting fee is paid upfront so the Rangers only pay Darvish $10 million a year…again. (See point 1- I understand that this is not the total investment).

        3) As Dave Cameron pointed out today over at FanGraphs (by the way, djpostl, he agrees with how you describe it), that Darvish will only have to be about as good as Jake Peavy to earn the total value (in terms of $/WAR). Scouts (i.e. Keith Law) have said he could be a true 1 or at the least a 2 – if this is true than he will be considered a good investment.

        The bottom line is we can throw all sorts of numbers and values out there, but until we see how he pitches throughout the contract only then will we be able to see if it was a good move. The Rangers seemed to think so. Why should we pretend that we are smarter?

      • phillyphreak - Jan 19, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        Edit: over $111 million

  22. buffalomafia - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Wow! And this guy isnt even a proven player in MLB!

    What happens to Feilder?

  23. illcomm - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    And the one on Hamels getting 132 over 6. Well that’s close. My guess is more like 4 for 88 with option 22 mil. So close.

    • Gamera the Brave - Jan 19, 2012 at 10:21 AM

      Who does Hamels think he is? Barry Zito?!?

  24. thekingdave - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    @miketreedy

    Expanding fan base = front runners who were Astro fans 5 years ago

  25. APBA Guy - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Having lived in San Antonio, I don’t know if the Houston area will ever adopt the Dallas team, but Dallas is plenty big on its own to handle the payroll implications of the Darvish signing.

    This deal has risk. A lot of commenters have pointed out that Darvish has never thrown in the majors, and the success rate of Japanese baseball bred starting pitching in MLB isn’t great.

    But financially, the Rangers are only on the hook going forward for $10M per year. Which means that should they want to move him 3 years from now, it won’t be impossible.

    And if he is the exception and starts pitching very well anytime soon, the total expenditure will have been worth it.

    But the main thing is that the Rangers projected him as potentially the top starter they needed to get over the World Series hump. And they got their man.

    Now we play the games. Have to like the way the rivalry between LAA and TEX is shaping up. I’m looking forward to seeing Pujols against Darvish, and Hamilton against CJ Wilson in September.

    It’s certainly gonna beat my steady diet of the A’s trotting out Pitcher X from Sacramento to face Seattle’s number 8 hitter.

    • Reflex - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:25 PM

      I have difficulty with the idea that the track record has not been that great with Japanese players. The reality is that the sample size is very small, and I’d say that on average they do better than your average ‘american’ grown player. We’ve had what, maybe a couple dozen total pitchers, and they all tend to come here already ‘old’ by US standards for a rookie due to their contact situation in Japan. Who’s to say what their careers would have looked like if they’d come here in their early to mid 20′s on average.

      Despite that, I count two superstar pitchers among them(Nomo and Sasaki) and numerous very good to borderline stars. By comparison, look at how many americans come and go on rosters in any given period of time, I guarantee you that it produces far fewer solid regulars against the total number of players, much less superstars than you see out of the Japan leagues.

      A large part of this is of course that US teams get to cherry pick the Japanese players they want, taking only the cream of the crop. But at the same time I have to wonder how many more would rise if there was a level of competition above the league that they play in now that they could move to as soon as their skills merited it.

      As for Yu, he’s got a good shot not just because of his skillset, but becacuse he’s 25. He’s going to be one of the youngest guys to ever get a shot at having a career here, starting maybe one or two years after the typical star rookie would. I’m looking forward to seeing if he’s up to it, it would be nice to see someone eclipse Nomo’s stature in the US, maybe even throw a couple no-no’s.

      • APBA Guy - Jan 19, 2012 at 12:29 AM

        There is certainly a point to be made about the sample size, but in this case it isn’t a sample: it is the universe of Japanese bred starting pitching competing in MLB that Darvish is joining. As for superstars that you reference, I assume you mean superstars in Japan? Wouldn’t Matsuzake and Irabu qualify as well?

        And that’s part of the point that these commenters are making. The value of this pitching translating into MLB WAR or ERA + is questionable so far, that’s the claim. Agreed that there is no representational data presented to support that claim other than ERA.

        But regardless of that, the point is that even against the standard of great pitching stats in Japan, Darvish’s record there is significantly better than the others who’ve made the leap to MLB.

        But as far as whether the average value of pitchers from Japan has or has not exceeded MLB or another nationalities average, I don’t have data on that. My claim was merely that commenters are making that statement.

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