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Details of Yu Darvish’s contract with the Rangers

Jan 20, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT

Yu Darvish Getty

Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has the year-by-year breakdown of Yu Darvish‘s contract with the Rangers:

2012: $5.5 million
2013: $9.5 million
2014: $10 million
2015: $10 million
2016: $10 million
2017: $11 million

The deal was initially reported as a six-year, $60 million contract, but it turns out that $56 million is the actual guarantee. However, Wilson reports that Darvish can earn the additional four million through roster bonuses. The contract also includes a lump sum bonus if he wins the Cy Young Award. The Rangers are making an investment of nearly $108 million if you include the $51,703,411 posting fee that will be paid to Darvish’s old team, the Nippon Ham-Fighters.

Per Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said during a radio appearance Thursday morning that Darvish has two possible avenues to opt out of the final year of the contract:

1) If he wins the Cy Young in one year and finishes in the “top three or four” in the balloting in another of the first five years of the contract.

2) If he finishes second for Cy Young in one year and in the top three or four in the balloting in two additional years.

Those are some pretty lofty performance thresholds. But if Darvish somehow reaches them and opts out, it’s safe to say the Rangers would be pretty satisfied with the way things worked out.

Darvish is set to be officially introduced as a member of the Rangers during a press conference tonight at the Ballpark in Arlington.

  1. Jeremiah Graves - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    Man…if you could just pretend that the posting fee didn’t exist, he’d have been a great value signing.

    Except…you know, it does exist and that’s a ton of money for an unproven pitcher in the big leagues.

  2. phukyouk - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    “Those are some pretty lofty performance thresholds. But if Darvish somehow reaches them and opts out, it’s safe to say the Rangers would be pretty satisfied with the way things worked out.”

    Not really. he could, in theory, opt out after two years and then they paid over $75 million for two years of service.

    • Francisco (FC) - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:22 AM

      He CAN’T opt out after two years, the opt out clause is only for the final year. Even if he makes the targets in the first two years by winning Cy Young in year 1 and finishing in the top 3-4 in year 2, he still must pitch years 3 and 4 for the Rangers.

    • dluxxx - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:22 AM

      Read it again. It says that he can opt out of the final year of his contract if he meets those conditions.

      • phukyouk - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:24 AM

        yup, misread. my bad

      • dluxxx - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:15 AM

        No worries. It’s early…

    • dirkified - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:26 AM

      he can only opt out of the FINAL year.. not year 2.. must be an angels fan..

  3. pitolove124 - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Yu Darvish is actually a 37 year old Dominican guy named Larry Grant…

    • trevorb06 - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      Isn’t he half Iranian? That by default makes him a terro… on nvm. :-P

  4. crisisjunky - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    And Jesus Montero is apparently ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’, is 56 years old, and prefers Dos Equis.

    • trevorb06 - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:23 AM

      That wasn’t funny.

  5. uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    “But if Darvish somehow reaches them and opts out, it’s safe to say the Rangers would be pretty satisfied with the way things worked out.”

    Then again if he doesn’t and he turns out to be like Dice K or any of the other pitchers that have come over from Japan, it’s safe to say the Rangers will regret their $107,703,411 (831,039,500 billion yen) investment.

  6. pitolove124 - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    Japanese baseball hopes rest on Darvish’s having a few great years. They can’t afford another Dice-k here. In my opinion it Yu-D’s failure would kill the posting system which is pretty sweet for Japanese baseball.

    • trevorb06 - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      We already know if Yu fail that MLB teams will still have outrageous bidding in hopes of catching lightning in a battle.

  7. phillyphreak - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Can we please stop comparing him to DiceK? I realize he’s the last Japanese pitcher to come over with such expectations but he’s not the same kind of pitcher. And I do realize the the comparisons sometimes are only contract related- it just seems like people are actively expecting (maybe wanting) this guy to fail rather than letting him pitch.

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      This Hurling Darvish is a very different pitcher than Matsuzaka.

  8. uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Not to sound like a Doubting Thomas but has anyone on this board ever actually seen him pitch in person? Now before anyone says, Yes I say him pitch in the World Baseball Classic who cares how he pitched there. That’s the same World Baseball Classics that Dice K I believe won the MVP Award for 2 times. And will all know what most fans including Red Sox fans think of him.

    Some want to say he is a different pitcher than Dice K. Why, because all of the so called expects tell us he is. I think most of us don’t put a lot of credence in what the “so called” experts say. What else makes him different than Dice K? He’s taller than Dice K. He’s heavier than Dice K. He has bigger hands than Dice K. That’s all very nice. You know some of the things that make him just like Dice K? He’s a product of the same system as Dice K. He’s never pitched 1 inning of MLB. He’s never faced the quality of ML players day in and day out before. And he cost some MLB team over $100MM to obtain his services. Oh, and I forgot to mention it gets god awfully hot in Texas a good part of the MLB season. Something I’m sure he’s not used to. Add all of that up and it looks to me he has more in common with Dice K then some may think. But, that’s just my opinion.

    Let the thumbs down begin.

    • Lukehart80 - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      Things that make Darvish “just like” Matsuzaka: He’s coming from Nippon Professional Baseball.

      Things that make him different: He is substantially taller, he has bigger hands, he has a different pitch selection, his workload (while heavy) has been lighter than Matsuzaka’s, his worst season in Japan was better than Matsuzaka’s best season there.

      But CLEARLY they’re more alike than different. They both have strange names!

      There are plenty of legit questions about how Darvish will perform and of course it’s impossible to know how he will do until he’s actually doing it but comparisons to Matsuzaka are lazy, and show an inability to see beyond race and/or nationality. It is the same as white basketball players inevitably being compared to Larry Bird or Steve Nash, even if someone else is a more accurate comparison point.

    • phillyphreak - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM

      “I think most of us don’t put a lot of credence in what the “so called” experts say.”

      I think it depends on what you mean by “expert.” Do you mean a reporter like Heyman or Buster? Both are good at reporting but not so good at analysis. Or do you mean the scouting experts that we get to hear and interact with? I’m thinking Kevin Goldstein and Keith Law here. KG and KLaw’s words mean a lot more to me in that regard- it’s what they do. So when scouts who I trust say that he’s a completely different pitcher than DiceK, I’ll believe that.

      “He’s a product of the same system as Dice K.”

      So every pitcher from high school X will have the same career? Every pitcher from the IL will have the same career? Every hitter from the PCL will have the same career? Every Japanese player will be equal? Every Dominican player will be equal? From all reports Darvish’s stuff is better. For example (from those “experts”/KLaw): DiceK’s best ERA in Japan was HIGHER than Darvish’s worst ERA in Japan in the past few years.

      “Not to sound like a Doubting Thomas but has anyone on this board ever actually seen him pitch in person?……..And he cost some MLB team over $100MM to obtain his services. ”

      I bet the Rangers saw him pitch in person…a LOT. And I bet the Rangers also went through the calculations of what he is worth relative to other free agents they could sign. They obviously think he is worth it. Doesn’t mean they’re right but still, we should stop pretending that they were like “oh this guys good I think let’s give em lots of cash.”

      You may be totally right. He may not be that great. But it’s a lot easier to be negative in projections than it is to be high on someone. And if it makes you feel better to take the negative route that’s fine and your totally entitled to it. I didn’t even thumb down your comment!

    • cur68 - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      Well made points UYF, but there is a bit more to The Darv than that. As you know the advantages of being bigger in stature with bigger hands come into play in terms of velocity and effectiveness of pitches. Also he relies on real pitches unless McCarver’s claim of more than 5 pitches is a gyro ball and not just Timmy being Timmy. Also, its pretty humid in Japan: heat might be less of a factor than we think. Whatever, though. Till he throws one in anger, this is all academic. Pitcher’s & catchers in 3 weeks!

    • wlubake - Jan 20, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      This is like saying Strasburg is just like Bryan Bullington. They both came from college, went first overall in the draft, and had never pitched against major league talent before. What fools the Nats were to chase after a guy like Strasburg with that background.

      Besides, the “experts” who I give defernce to are guys like John Daniels and Thad Levine, who have built one of the best farm systems in the majors and just took a Texas franchise that had never won a playoff series to back-to-back World Series appearances. Those are the experts who get the benefit of the doubt from me.

  9. uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    “So every pitcher from high school X will have the same career?”
    I’m not saying every pitcher will have the same career. What I am saying is that it’s fair to draw comparisons between those pitchers. And until one pitcher distinguishes himself from the pattern in a different environment you can’t say they are different. In my opinion.

    “I bet the Rangers saw him pitch in person…a LOT”
    I bet Bobby V saw him the most of any person. Yet the Red Sox didn’t even put in a token bid. And I doubt it’s because the cash is tight. It’s probably because of their experience with Dice K and their concern in general based on that knowledge.

    “For example (from those “experts”/KLaw): DiceK’s best ERA in Japan was HIGHER than Darvish’s worst ERA in Japan in the past few years.”
    And yet Dice K went 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA in his second year with the Red Sox then the wheels fell of the wagon. Injuries, poor performances that earned him the nickname in some circles “Walkasaka” because he gave up some many walks. Like many pitchers from Japan 1 or 2 good years and then for the most part mediocrity. And for over $100MM in my opinion mediocrity just doen’t cut it.

    Like you said we all have an opinion. But it’s not that I prefer to concentrate on the negative. I’m a realist. And until Darvish proves he is different on the field of battle (MLB) what conclusion would you have me draw?

  10. phillyphreak - Jan 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    “I’m not saying every pitcher will have the same career. What I am saying is that it’s fair to draw comparisons between those pitchers”

    I don’t think its very fair at all. The whole comparison is that they pitched in the same league. Comps should be more physical and tools related. And, at least from what I read, Darvish is better with better tools.

    “I bet Bobby V saw him the most of any person. Yet the Red Sox didn’t even put in a token bid.”

    Which tells me what? Maybe it tells me a) they don’t think they need Darvish and/or b) they don’t want to base such an investment on a brand new manager.

    “Like many pitchers from Japan 1 or 2 good years and then for the most part mediocrity.”

    – Hiroki Kuroda would say he’s had a pretty good career.

    “And for over $100MM in my opinion mediocrity just doen’t cut it.”

    This means that you’ve already judged him to be mediocre without him starting a game yet. I’m not saying he’ll be the best pitcher in baseball, but at least give him a shot. Again, it’s easy to concentrate on the negative based on the sample but this whole “well he’s from Japan” thing is kinda lame.

    I mentioned this in another Darvish thread but over at FG, Dave Cameron had a nice article on what Darvish would have to do to justify the 111 million: be like Jake Peavy. That’s not a super high bar….

    I don’t know why the attention is so “OMG ZOIKS HE NO SO GOOD” instead of “Damn, I can’t wait to see this guy pitch.”

    • uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2012 at 12:05 PM

      I was waiting for someone to bring up Kuroda. Your right he has had a nice or pretty good career, keep in mind that career is just 4 years so far. And I’m thinking nice or a pretty good career isn’t exactly what the Rangers are hoping for, for the $100MM plus investment. Do you know how much the Dodgers paid in a posting fee to sign him? ZERO. He originally signed for 3 years for $35.3MM. That’s a far cry from a $100MM plus investment for Darvish.

      And now with the Yankees signing him to a 1 year deal for about $10MM at least they have a MLB track record they were able to look back on when they were thinking of signing him.

      • phillyphreak - Jan 20, 2012 at 12:17 PM

        Right. The point is that Darvish was better in Japan than Kuroda and, again from the scout angle, projects to be better than Kuroda here (stuff etc).

        I agree the Rangers are expecting more than Kuroda. But in order to justify the investment (in terms of cost) he just has to be slightly better than Kuroda.

        We can spin ourselves in circles on this: you don’t think he’ll be good, I think he’ll be really good. All the analysis before he pitches, while fun and interesting, is moot. If he is a top of the rotation pitcher (Law said he thinks Darvish’s floor is a 2) then it is totally 100% worth the investment. Is it a risk? Sure is but the Rangers knew that going in.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        phillyphreak – I agree with you we are spinning our wheels here. Understand though It’s not that I think he will or won’t be better than the other Japanese pitchers that have preceded him here. I just think before anyone can draw either conclusion he needs to prove himself at least a little here on the field of battle known as MLB.

        Since we all seem to be speculating on hypothetical situations like Darvish could be a #1 or 2, etc…

        Let me propose a different hypothetical. And understand it is a hypothetical in the same vain as all the Darvish speculation. If Matt Cain were to hit FA next year (2013) would you rather have Matt Cain on your staff for 6 years at $107MM or Yu Darvish for the same amount of years and dollars.

        For me the answer is obvious it Matt Cain by a landslide.

      • Reflex - Jan 20, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        Personally I’d take Darvish over Cain. I don’t think the difference is all that much. Cain’s experience has been in the weaker league(NL) that is friendlier to pitchers due to the lack of a DH, from a team that plays in a serious pitchers park, in a division that is full of pitchers parks, and the weakest division in the weaker league. If Darvish had signed with SanFran I think he’d have stomped all over Cain’s numbers.

        Not because Cain is bad. He’s a decent #2 definitely. But he’s older than Darvish, and I don’t think the Japan league is *that* far below the NL West all things considered. But if Cain goes to the AL and a hitters park I would not be suprised to see him posting worse numbers than Darvish will with the Rangers.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2012 at 3:04 PM

        Reflex, you disagree with me. What a surprise.

        Considering Lincecum and Cain are only a few months apart and Cain gave up fewer HR’s, had a lower BAA and a lower WHIP and darn near the same ERA in 2011 and they pitch for the same team and for the most part against the opponents you would probably choose Darvish over Lincecum as well then.

        I guess that explains why your always jumping to the Mariners defense.

        As for your comment that and I quote: “Cain’s experience has been in the weaker league(NL) that is friendlier to pitchers due to the lack of a DH,” So you think in general the hitters in Japan are comparable to the hitters in the National League because the National League has no DH. I would be interested to see how you came to that conclusion.
        Besides, actually we weren’t talking about Darvish pitching in SF were talking about Darvish pitching in Arlington. And if you were the Rangers and both pitchers were available for the same amount of years and money which would you rather have. As for hitter friendly parks you can check the facts, there is not a friendlier hitters park than Arlington.

      • paperlions - Jan 20, 2012 at 3:43 PM

        The Japanese league is all kinds of below the NL west in terms of quality of competition. In general, the league is considered to be equivalent to AA ball with a few stars sprinkled in. A Japanese All-Star team might be competitive in the NL west, a team of 25 randomly chosen Japanese players? Not so much.

      • Reflex - Jan 21, 2012 at 3:09 AM

        ufy – Actually the question was which of the two you’d rather have for six years for that money at this stage. Given Cain’s age, the fact that his performance was not as good as Yu’s(but I already conceded that Japan isn’t as tough a league), and that Cain while good has not been as consistent, yes I’d take Yu over him as long as we are talking *6 year contracts*. If you want to talk about the next three years only I might agree with you, but Cain in six years is 33, well into decline, while Yu is at the end of his prime years. And again, while Yu played in a clearly weaker league(although I maintain not as weak as some seem to treat it), he was *that* much better than that league, performing a level or two above the norm. And he’s done it consistently for seven years.

        And your right, he’ll be doing his job in Arlington, a hitter’s park. But thats the thing, you asked about if a team hypothetically signed either him or Cain for 6 years. The only fair comparison would be if they were signed by the same team. There are adjusted stats to take into account for pitchers to neutralize park effects, and I’d expect them to be used in any comparison of Yu to anyone else. Obviously if he signed with the Padres he’d look like Clemens in his prime. But thats a poor way to evaluate a pitcher.

        As for Lincecum, no, I’d take him over Yu. While Cain definitely had a good season last year, he hasn’t been as consistently great as Lincecum. Lincecum has been pretty much the best pitcher in the NL the past four years, Cain’s been a very good #2 with moments of greatness.

        As for defending the M’s, when they were under Bavasi I got ringside seats to just how bad a team could be run. And I said so, publicly. Under Jack I have agreed with most of his moves, and the biggest mistake he made was trying to contend in 2010. They weren’t ready for it, and it cost them badly. But he has built a hell of a farm system, and trades like the Pineda one wouldn’t have been realistic without the groundwork he has been laying.

        paperlions – Most analysis I’ve ever read puts the Japan league at high AAA. I already conceded it wasn’t as good as the NL West. But I also don’t think its AA either. I also think Yu is significantly better than his league, and his stats bear that out.

      • paperlions - Jan 21, 2012 at 11:10 AM

        Many of the Japanese stars that come over to the US are bench players, if that. The average Japanese player is nowhere near as good as the average AAA player.

  11. pound30 - Jan 20, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Yu could be a bust but he also could be the best signing ever for the Rangers. Any idea how much money they can make from his huge fanbase? There will so many more Ranger fans in Japan. They could make a ton of money of the guy, and he could be a great pitcher. I see no problems with spending 100M on someone like Yu when he could possibly end up paying for himself. As a business investment this was a good one, with some risk. I think even if he is a middle of the rotation guy he could still bring in a lot of money and fans.

  12. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Jan 20, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Perhaps a more realistic way to look at the contract is that Rangers will be paying $57.2 million for Yu to pitch for them this year. Assuming he plays for them all six years his average price per year is $107/6 = $17.8 million (actually a little more with the $4 million is roster bonuses). So the average cost per year (without roster bonuses) breaks down like this

    1 $57.5
    2 $33.5
    3 $25.7
    4 $21.8
    5 $19.4
    6 $17.8

    If you assume Yu is $25 million per year pitcher, then the Rangers start getting payback in year 4. If you assume Yu is a $20 million per year pitcher, then the Rangers really only start getting some payback in year 6. If Yu is less than $18 million per year pitcher, then the deal is a bust.

    It is actually worst if you include the time value of money. $51.7 million upfront is a pretty big sunk cost.

    All in all a very risky move for the Rangers anyway you look at it.

    • paperlions - Jan 20, 2012 at 6:06 PM

      Um…..that adds up to $175.7M, not $107

      • PanchoHerreraFanClub - Jan 21, 2012 at 2:41 AM

        It is the average cost per year. Averages don’t add up to the total. 6 years at an average of $17.8 million or 6 x 17.8 = 106.8 or 107 with rounding. 5 years at an average of $19.4 million or 5 x 19.4 = 97 and add the 10 in the 6th year you get the total of $107.

        The point was to show how much Yu was costing the team. It is a $57.4 million hit for the 1st year. An average of $33.5 million over the 1st 2 years, etc. If Yu doesn’t turn out to be a $20 million per year type pitcher, the Rangers have screwed themselves for 6 years.

        I am not saying it is a bad move, just an expensive and risky one for a pitcher that has not pitched in big leagues at all.

      • paperlions - Jan 21, 2012 at 11:13 AM

        Oh, you were doing a running/accumulative average….I get it. Because means over a sample, do indeed add up to the total sample.

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