ARLINGTON -- Club officials and the agents for Yu Darvish worked late into the night Tuesday in an attempt put the finishing touches on a deal that would put the Japanese star pitcher in a Texas Rangers uniform.The deadline to sign Darvish arrives at 4 p.m. today, the end point of a 30-day window to reach an agreement after the Rangers won the rights to negotiate with Darvish by bidding $51.7 million last month.Arn Tellem and Don Nomura, who represent Darvish, were at Rangers Ballpark on Tuesday with a group of Rangers officials headed by general manager Jon Daniels.Team president Nolan Ryan was out of town on a prior obligation but was due back to town this morning.Joining the agents and club brass were an estimated 20 media members from Japan. They stood outside the center-field offices doing what everyone else seems to be doing -- waiting in the dark -- before the Rangers showed some goodwill by allowing the group into the lobby and supplying them with pizza and beer.Daniels would not comment on the status of the negotiations or the food delivery, but a source said that the Rangers are cautiously optimistic that Darvish will be signed.They are convinced, said the source, that Darvish wants to make the jump from Nippon Professional Baseball in a Rangers uniform. But his agents have cautioned media outlets in Japan throughout the process that Darvish could very well be back with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2012 and be posted again in November.One source in Japan, though, said that the $51.7 million posting fee -- payable only if Darvish is signed -- is a tremendous windfall for the Fighters. It's enough to easily cover their 2012 payroll.If he isn't signed, the club might not be able to build a competitive team around Darvish, who is due a raise from the $7 million he made last season.Earlier Tuesday, at an off-season pitching mini-camp, the Rangers' coaching staff seemed to know as much about the Darvish talks as the rest of the public. They knew only a little more about the player himself."I don't know much," pitching coach Mike Maddux said."Not much," said younger brother Greg Maddux, a special assistant to the GM.Both have watched video of Darvish, and they like what they have seen. He has command of all his pitches and knows what he wants to do with them."Delivery and mechanics and all that don't really mean a whole lot," Greg Maddux said. "If the ball goes where you want it to go, then everything is pretty good, and that's what I saw."Mike Maddux was part of the group that played host to Darvish early this month.The recruiting visit included a dinner at Del Frisco's in Fort Worth."We shared an hour and a half together or so," Maddux said. "We communicated through a translator. It was interesting."I pretty much know what I read. Other than that, it would be nice to have him. I'm sure a lot of teams feel that way. I guess time will tell. We'll see if tomorrow is Christmas or not."Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760
If the Rangers don't sign Darvish
He returns to the top of the Hokkaido rotation and waits for another chance to be posted next year, after Nov. 1, or waits to come to the majors until he becomes a free agent after the 2013 season. The Rangers would not pay the $51.7 million posting fee.
Where the two sides stand
Rangers brass and the agents for Darvish have intensified their negotiations. Team president Nolan Ryan said Saturday that he was optimistic that an agreement would be reached.