Less than a month after seeing division rivals the Angels sweep up both C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols, the Rangers did the expected and signed Japanese import free agent Yu Darvish. After a record 51.7 million dollar bid to even negotiate, the deal reportedly comes out as 6 years and 60 million dollars..Darvish, strengthens a rotation already including promising starters Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and has the potential to have converted relievers Neftali Feliz or Alexei Ogando. While the deal doesn’t solidify them as a lock to reach the World Series for a 3rd consecutive season, it gives them another good young arm in a rotation filled with promise going forward.
The 6 foot 5 Osaka native has posted brilliant numbers for the Nippon Ham fighters, cumulating to a 1.72 career ERA and has been the apple of many scouts’ eyes since his inaugural showing in the 2007 World Baseball Classic. While concerns over whether or not he can handle the rigors of a five day work schedule are prominent in North America especially after the flameout of RedSox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka , the Rangers and many other clubs still believe Darvish has the potential to be a front line starter on a team with a deep young core. If that happens, the AL West may just catapult into the league’s toughest division.
With big name free agents finally solidifying there spots before the start of spring training, the one name that everyone still has to look out for is Prince Fielder. With reports the Rangers were in negotiations with Fielder prior to the announcement of Darvish, it remains to be seen whether or not they can afford both. Needless to say with the hype and excitement around Darvish, Yu’s North American journey, will be one all baseball fans will be monitoring closely.