Speculation has Rangers behind Jays in Darvish bid

Posted Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011  comments  Print Reprints
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The Texas Rangers held to the company line Thursday of revealing nothing while waiting to learn the outcome of the Yu Darvish bidding.

They wouldn't confirm if they submitted a bid, nor would they say if they chose not to get involved.

But the most popular thought among baseball analysts and officials is that the Rangers have submitted a posting bid for the Japanese right-hander but could be lagging behind Toronto.

Darvish's team, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, has until 4 p.m. CST Tuesday to decide if they will accept the highest bid. Major League Baseball told Hokkaido the amount of the bid Wednesday, but not the team that submitted it.

Teams believed but not confirmed to be among the bidders for Darvish include the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Rangers.

As recently as Tuesday, Rangers officials weren't sure how much they could bid or if they would bid at all. On Wednesday, team president Nolan Ryan met with the ownership group, which has expressed a willingness to spend this off-season.

Several key members of the Rangers' front office, including general manager Jon Daniels, went to Japan last season to watch Darvish, a 25-year-old right-hander with a fastball clocked regularly at 92-95 mph.

This season the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Darvish was 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA while striking out 276 batters and walking 36 in 232 innings.

Many have speculated that it will take at least $100 million -- including the posting fee and a multiyear contract -- to sign the most sought-after Japanese pitcher since Daisuke Matsuzaka.

In 2006, the Boston Red Sox paid, $51,111,111 to secure negotiating rights and another $52 million to sign Matsuzaka to a six-year contract. Matsuzaka made 105 starts in his first five seasons, posting a 49-30 record, 4.25 ERA with 568 strikeouts and 301 walks.

In October 2007, Matsuzaka became the first Japanese pitcher to start and win a World Series game. He underwent Tommy John reconstructive surgery on his right elbow this past June.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

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