Yu Darvish is coming to Texas. At least the Rangers are the only MLB team he can play for next season.
MLB announced late Monday night that the Rangers won the negotiating rights for the star Japanese right-hander. Yahoo! Sports reported the bid to be a record $51.7 million.
Now, Texas has a 30-day window to negotiate a contract with the 25-year-old Darvish. If a deal can't be reached, the Rangers will not pay the posting fee.
"The Texas Rangers are pleased and excited to have acquired the rights to negotiate with Yu Darvish," the team said in a statement. "Our organization has scouted Mr. Darvish for the last several years and has been very impressed with his abilities and accomplishments. We believe he would be a great addition to the Texas Rangers pitching staff.
"We look forward to the next step of this process in the very near future with Mr. Darvish and his representatitves, Arn Tellem and Don Nomura."
The Rangers were high on Darvish all of last season, sending several key members of the front office, including general manager Jon Daniels, to watch him in Japan.
Darvish, a 6-foot-5, 215-pounder, throws a 92-95 mph fastball and went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA last season with the Nippon-Ham Fighters.
Darvish will join a rotation that lost last year's ace, C.J. Wilson, to the Angels. Closer Neftali Feliz is also set to join the rotation. Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando are all set to return, although one could be traded or moved to the bullpen.
Darvish is the third Japanese-born pitcher on the team, joining relievers Koji Uehara and Yoshinori Tateyama.
Prior to the Rangers' bid, the Boston Red Sox set a record posting bid of $51,111,111 in 2006 to secure the negotiating rights for Daisuke Matsuzaka. Boston then handed Matsuzaka a six-year, $52 million contract to push the total amount to more than $100 million.
Darvish's total package is expected to be more than that. There have been reports that he could receive a contract in the neighborhood of the one Wilson signed with the Angels -- five years, $77.5 million.
"We were pleased to learn that the Texas Rangers were the high bidders for Yu Darvish," Tellem said in a statement.
"The Rangers are an extraordinary franchise in an exceptional city with equally exceptional fans. Yu is honored to be prized so highly and recognized as a once-in-a-generation pitcher. We look forward to getting negotiations under way."
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760