Blog Entry

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Posted on: January 18, 2012 5:35 pm
That the Rangers got the Yu Darvish deal done is no surprise.

Neither is it a surprise that the talks pretty much extended all the way to Tuesday's 5 p.m. EDT deadline.

Now ... will it be a surprise if Darvish immediately becomes the Rangers' ace?

Hmmm. ...

The airspace from Japan to the major leagues has been turbulent for pitchers, but so many scouts say Darvish is no Daisuke Matsuzaka or Hideki Irabu (or Kei Igawa). Across the board, that's a good thing for Texas.

Most importantly, the Rangers themselves are betting that there will be no surprises, that Darvish is ace material. They got exactly what they wanted in essentially exchanging Darvish for C.J. Wilson, and they got exactly what they wanted in getting it done with a six-year deal instead of a five. (Thus keeping him out of the free agent market for an extra year).

Texas' total commitment is $111 million, given the $60 million plus the $51 million posting price, and who knows, maybe there even will be money left over for Prince Fielder. The Rangers steadfastly have downplayed that possibility, but they do have the money and the potential for a monster winter remains.

A good day overall for the Rangers, who have watched AL West rival Los Angeles sign Albert Pujols and Wilson this winter while waiting patiently to put their own plans in motion.

But despite his credentials in Japan, Darvish still comes to Texas as less of a proven commodity than, say, Cliff Lee when the Rangers acquired him at midseason in 2010. Darvish must prove that he can adjust to a longer schedule, pitching every five days, a different culture, a different baseball, the Texas heat and living away from his family. Among other things.

Wilson helped pitch the Rangers to consecutive World Series in 2010 and 2011. He worked 223 1/3 innings last year and 204 innings two summers ago. He made 77 starts over those two seasons and won 31 decisions. He was not nails in the postseason, however, and he had run his course.

There was absolutely no way the Rangers were going to re-sign him, certainly not at anything remotely close to the $77.5 million he got over five years from the Angels.

They did not like the prospect of their return on that investment, and they have not liked how the past two seasons have turned out despite the World Series appearances.

"We've had some success the last two years, but we haven't been able to close it out," general manager Jon Daniels said last month on the night it was revealed that the Rangers won the right to negotiate exclusively with Darvish. "That's our goal. Put the best possible club out there and win a championship."

That goal only gets harder, never easier, as players age and opponents adjust. The Angels have stolen all the headlines this winter and there is no question -- on paper -- they are better post-Pujols.

Baseball men who have watched Darvish pitch, both in Japan and on video, swear that he is by far the best pitcher to come out of Japan. Best stuff, strongest, most developed, most confident.

They Rangers right now have $111 million saying that's right.

As for the rest, well, across the AL West, the Angels are feeling pretty, pretty good about themselves right now. But with Darvish -- and with Fielder still free -- it would be a colossal mistake to curb your enthusiasm where the Rangers are concerned.


Since: Nov 1, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2012 1:17 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Rtd R Boston fan, I know you feel burned by Dice-K and feel like you gotta get something outa him other than a sore arm. so why not claim that Darvish will never be his equal.  One difference other than their respective physiognomies is that Dice-K was famous for a pitch that broke in 3 directions - and backed up - when he was in Japan but no one ever saw it State-side. Darvish just has the basic 4.  I don't know if he'll be any good but just because Dicey flamed out that doesn't make him better than Darvish.  Give the kid a chance.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 20, 2012 10:30 pm

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Nolan Ryan obviously knows pitching but he's not God.  Nobody can be sure how this kid does in the major leagues because he's never come close to facing the competition he's going to face in MLB.  If it was a sure thing there would have been a lot more teams interested and the bid to acquire his rights would have been a lot higher then 50 million dollars.  There would have been one hell of a bidding war, that's for sure.  The bid doesn't affect the teams salary cap at all, only the salary does.  You have to wonder why the New York Yankees who need starting pitching chose to take on a 37 year old lifetime National League pitcher instead of going after this kid. Money is no object in Yankee Land......  but they didn't go after him because this is far from a sure thing. 

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: January 20, 2012 8:26 pm

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

For that kind of money he better be an Ace. Darvish isn't getting Ace money, but the Rangers have invested Ace money.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: January 20, 2012 5:04 pm

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Nolan Ryan knows pitching.

How much he knows about finance, is in question.

The average Japanese lineup contains the equivilent of ONE below average MLB hitter, 3 average Triple-A hitters, 3 above average Double-A hitters, and 1 good single-A hitter....

 What do you think the average MLB starting pitchers stats would look like facing lineups like that for a season ? A lot more like Darvish's than the average MLB starting pitcher, that's for sure. It's WHY Japanese starting pitchers haven't come close to the stats they have in Japan, in MLB.

How many average MLB pitchers are worth a $100 million contract ? NONE. 

There are a small percentage of players in Japan that are MLB quality, and almost none that are elite MLB quality...Ichiro was an exception- an elite MLB player. Matsui, maybe better than average MLB hitter...and they were Japan's Ty Cobb and Henry Aaron. If the average MLB hitter is say, Ryan Ludwick, he'd be Ryan Braun in Japan.

Yu Darvish MAY BE the FIRST true Japanese pitching exception, a MLB elite pitcher....but $100 million is a lot to gamble that he's something no one else has been, isn't it ?

Since: Mar 28, 2007
Posted on: January 20, 2012 1:51 pm

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

  If Nolan Ryan said Homer Simpson has what it takes to be a MLB Ace, I'd tend to take his word for it. THAT MAN KNOWS PITCHING!

Since: May 10, 2011
Posted on: January 20, 2012 12:00 pm

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Spot on FWTexan. The Texas Rangers are a stable franchise, despite the mis-dealings of Tom Hicks. This franchise will be a force in the American League for several years. A very strong farm system, lots of salary $'s because of the new tv contract, and strong leadership on the field and in the dugout.

Since: Dec 24, 2009
Posted on: January 20, 2012 10:33 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger


5 Star spot on assessment in both your previous posts.

Some of what I've read here seems to be saying because Japanese pitchers who've come to America haven't been super-duper successful, then it must follow that all current and future Japanese pitchers will also be less that super-duper.

Well, I think people are voting with their hopes because their team isn't the Rangers and they hope Yu Darvish fails. That in turn (at least in the naysayer's minds) would mean the Rangers failed.

To that I would respond by saying they should take a look at the Ranger's pitching staff. Pitchers like Ogando/Harrison, (whichever one is relegated to the bullpen), Feldman, Michael Kirkman... these are guys that could start on more than half the other teams out there. So even if Darvish should blow out his arm the first day, the Rangers wouldn't miss a beat.

And for those concerned about him pitching every 4 days instead of every 5? Well, with days off, there will be many times he pitches on 5 days rest. And with his purported work ethic, his youthful body should bounce back immediately. This is not an Ogando situation where the man came from being a relief pitcher to a starter and just lost his edge as the season wore on. This guy has started for his entire career in Japan.

But most importantly, from the video I've seen of him he is passionate about coming out on top. He loves his job. I think he will be the kind of player who just enjoys taking the ball no matter what.

And if anybody knows what it takes to be "that man", I trust in Nolan Ryan as a mentor.

Since: Jan 11, 2010
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:35 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

I love how people think this is some kind of reactionary signing to Wilson. Did you ever think they did not resign Wilson because they wanted Darvish instead? They scouted every single game Darvish pitched last year, all of them. Not only did they scout all of his games, they sent a dozen of their top scout to JAPAN to scout him. So they could get a whole scouting department feel for him. Does this sound reactionary? Or does it begin to look like the Texas Rangers have taken a well informed, thoroughly researched, calculated risk on a player they believe has the skill set and mental makeup to be a star. CJ pitched well for this team, but the man had reached his potential. He is very near his ceiling. Darvish is just beginning his journey to his ceiling. The Rangers front office has proven their talent evaluation skills. I am going to trust them on this.

Since: Jan 11, 2010
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:21 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Really? You think this is the same team that was bankrupt? Understand somethings dude. The Texas Rangers were a stable franchise. The owner was broke. Not because of the Rangers , but because of the owners other investments. When the Rangers filed for bankruptcy it was to expidite the sale of the franchise. All of the money that was used by MLB during that period was paid back last year. This current team has not one, but two billionaires. They also have a three billion dollar local TV contract, and will top more than three million fans at the ballpark this year. This roster is loaded. It is relatively young. And the farm system is teaming with top flight talent. Ray Davis and Don Simpson are the cherry on top. Quiet billionaires who want nothing to do with the day to day operations of the ball club. They just want to sit on the sidelines, let John Daniels and Nolan Ryan do their jobs, and write the checks. Wake up people. This team is not going anywhere for a very long time.

Since: Feb 6, 2010
Posted on: January 20, 2012 1:14 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Love how it's assumed Darvish will come right into MLB and dominate from the get go. Being a Boston fan and watching Dice K's struggle to acclimate which to this day remains a work in progress... People just don't seem to understand the incredible transition at hand for these guys coming over from Japan. Darvish may have a jump in regard to the language barrier issue but certainly many other obstacles have yet to be overcome.

It's also interesting that there seems to be a near concensus that Darvish will be more successful than Dice K, based upon comparison of ERA, won-loss, K to walk ratio... yet little consideration seems to be given to the fact that the talent level Dice K faced during his time in Japan likely exceeds what Darvish has seen during his last few years in Japan. Wonder how Darvish would have fared had the many players that have since left for MLB and/or other option(s), still been around as was mostly the case for Dice K during his tenure at home.  

Darvish may be the next big thing but as far as Japan goes, he'll never top Dice K, not with the World Classic championships (not to mention WCC MVP), not with the high school phenom performances on national tv and not with Dice K being the 'first' national pitching star (Nomo et all not withstanding...) to come to America and MLB with the nation of Japan's expectation that his talent would translate in MLB and that he would achieve superstar status in the States...  

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