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: May 22, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2012 9:25 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

I'm sure the Rangers could have signed Cliff Lee if he wanted to stay...he was treated well with the Phillies and he went for playing for an NL team and who wouldn't, no DH. Now the have their super ace, but he hasn't thrown an inning and has cost 111 million. What's wrong with this picture?

If the sign former Brewer Prince Fielder, then their payroll will rival that of the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies. Still, I would have preferred Fielder over Yu Darvish anyway...that's one proven commodity over an unknown.

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2012 9:16 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Dice K threw 96 - 98 while in Japan.  When he got to the majors you saw 96 every once in a while but he was constantly at 92-94.  Expect a drop off of at least 2 mph.  I think what the Double A player said in this thread is gigantic.  It is a different, smalller and harder wound ball.  Just be careful because Dice K was cant miss and an easy Cy Young winner.  Go read about him before he came and the year he did come.  Can't miss.  Unhittable.  Can't pick up his ball.  Best Japan has ever seen.  Been there...Done that.  Hope it works out but best case scenario...hope for a solid #4 starter

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2012 9:06 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Not to beat a dead horse but the Japanese pitcher who is by far the best to ever come out of Japan is Hideo Nomo.  He was 123-109 with a 4.24 era.  BY FAR THE BEST.  There have been 36 pitchers to come from Japan to the US.  He is by far and not even close, the best.  Doesn't that speak volumes.  Different game and different level of hitters.  Hitters have had much better success coming from Japan than pitchers have.  Maybe it has something to do with the ball like a previous poster said?

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: January 19, 2012 9:00 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Dice K wasn't a power pitcher, Yu is.  More importantly, the Rangers front office haven't missed very much on their assumptions since the Teixeira trade. Harrison, Andrus, Hamilton, Beltre, Napoli, Ogando, Murphy, Lewis et al where wise decisions by the team. I am more willing to trust this front office more than ever.

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2012 8:50 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Hellooooo Dice K Part two!  Unhittable.  Can't pick up his pitches.  Has a pitch no one can hit.  GYRRRRRRRROOOOO(ok maybe that wasn't part of it but I added it for fun sake).  All that equals?  Another soft tossing Japanese pithcher who eats at corners and can't get the ball by big league hitters. Which leads to walks and loads of runs...Watched it in Boston for many years

Since: Feb 27, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2012 5:56 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Lets put it this way...The Yankees bidded only 20 million for this guy after they spent over a year evaluating him. He may benefit pitching in Arlington instead of New York but we will see. The Angels have the pitching in the division hands down. Texas might not even make the playoffs.
Right, the Yankee's, those incredible evlauators of talent ROFLMFAO!!!

That in itself should speak highly of Darvish LOL.

I trust the pitching brain trust in Texas, hands down, anyday over what they have in the Big Apple.

I agree, the Angels do have the best rotation in the division, actuallly, in the AL, and I agree, the Rangers might not make the playoffs, but I think their chances are every bit as good as the Yankees.  

Since: Oct 16, 2006
Posted on: January 19, 2012 4:12 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Let's not forget the fact that Darvish pitched most of his Nippon Pro Baseball games indoors. His home park was Sapporo Dome, where his team played 72 home games per 144-game season.

Orix Buffaloes play at Kyocera Dome in Osaka. Fukuoka Softbank Hawks play at Yahoo! Fukuoka Dome. While Seibu Dome is not completely enclosed, it still features an overhead shield.

Pacific League teams also play a handful of interleague games against Central League squads, two of which also play in domed venues, Yomiuri at Tokyo Dome and Chunichi at Nagoya Dome.

That's more than 100, more than two thirds of their games, indoors.

The Rangers play 81 home games, mostly in the debilitating Arlington summer heat; every other AL venue is outdoor, save for those such as Rogers Centre in Toronto whose roof is retractable. Kansas City and Minnesota can be BEASTLY hot come summertime. Darvish's interleague road games are at Houston, San Francisco and San Diego, so he might catch a break there.

Then, there's travel. Japanese teams don't have jet lag to worry about during the course of the season because the entire country fits snugly into one time zone, Japan Standard Time. A road trip is an hour or so by jet from Tokyo to Sapporo or Hiroshima, or by bullet train to Sendai or Nagoya or Osaka.

This will be the first time Darvish must deal with airline trips of 1,500 miles to the west coast and 1,200 miles or so to New York or Boston, plus having to deal with time changes. Check out some of the Rangers' road trips:

April 13-22, from Texas to Minnesota to Boston to Detroit then home to face the Yankees.
April 30-May 10, from Texas to Toronto to Cleveland to Baltimore then home to face the Angels.
May 18-23, from Texas to Houston to Seattle then a rare day off and a flight home to face Toronto.
June 1-June 10, from Texas to Anaheim to Oakland to San Francisco then home to face the NL West.
July 13-July 22, out the gate from the All-Star break to Seattle, Oakland and Anaheim then home to face Boston.
Aug. 3-Aug. 8 and Aug. 13-Aug. 19, from Texas to Kansas City to Boston back home for three games with Detroit then to New York to Toronto and back home to face Baltimore.
Aug. 31-Sept. 9, to Cleveland, Kansas City and Tampa Bay then back home to face Cleveland.

In no way am I suggesting that Darvish won't succeed. He might fool all of us and become the second coming of Masaichi Kaneda (Japan's equivalent of Cy Young, 400 career victories, 2.34 ERA). But it's going to take time for Darvish to make the adjustments. He won't be a superstar right away. Let's give him time to settle first.

Since: Jun 20, 2010
Posted on: January 19, 2012 1:19 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

Have any of you guys every played around with a Japanese ball?  I got up to AA ball with a decent bat, an ok glove, and the arm of a girl, which is why I didn't get any further than that, but during my time in the minors we would mess around with Japanese baseballs and it's amazing what a difference the size makes.  Not only are Japanese baseballs smaller, they are wound more tightly and are harder than an MLB baseball.  For instance, I would play around throwing knucklers all the time and for the most part I could throw a decent one, but with the Japanese ball I was like Charlie Hough, it was crazy.  Every picther on my team that threw the Jap ball would gain at least 3 to 5mph on their fastball and are number 2 starter at the time threw it 105mph at one point, 7mph more than his highest speed ever.  It also affected their offspeed stuff, which to me was the biggest gain of throwing that smaller ball.  After two days of messing with that Jap ball all the pitchers threw them out of the pracdtice pens and the coaches told the rest of the team to keep the balls away from the staff, because it started messing with their heads and hurting their mechanics.

I'm not saying that Darvish won't be a good pitcher in the MLB, but I think he is going to have to adjust alot to not only the ball, but the way MLB hitters take pitches.  He is used to throwing to a lineup full of Ichiro Suzuki type slap hitter, not guys like a Mark Teixeira that will take you deep if you get it even close to the zone.  It's definitely going to be interesting to see him pitch in the majors, and he is going to be amazed at the way the ball carries in Texas during the summer months. 

For the guy that said Darvish will out pitch CJ this season, I don't think so!

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2012 12:54 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

cbssports has been calling the Rangers "the Yankees and Red Sox West"...whatever that means (a line I borrowed from Clark Judge and will continue to use until he acknowledges that he steals my ideas for topics to write and speak on. 

In order to be the Yankees and the Red Sox of the West the Rangers not only have to play in the World Series, they have to win it. Simply getting to the World Series only to get pawned into oblivion is not something the Yankees or Red Sox did. When they made it to the World Series...they won it. Only losers fail to grasp the concept of "trying to win a World Series instead of simply being content to be in one".   

Since: Jul 3, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2012 12:32 am

Yu Darvish, Texas Ranger

moron much? cano? jeter? rivera? pettite? posada? 4 of those delivered 5 rings. you probably dont know much about that though. my bad. rings are what you get when you win championships.

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