The Texas Rangers have had a great offense for years, but they've gone to the World Series two years in a row because of their pitching. They know this better than anybody.
On Wednesday, the Rangers once again made a savvy move by reportedly signing Japanese phenom Yu Darvish to a six-year deal to make up for losing ace C.J. Wilson.
Let's be clear, to say the Rangers overpaid would be an understatement. They paid a reported $51.7 million simply for the exclusive negotiating rights with Darvish. The six-year deal will cost them $60 million, with bonuses potentially tacking on $10 million, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
There is no telling how Darvish will pan out in MLB yet. We've seen Japanese pitchers flop throughout the years transitioning to American ball. But sometimes you have to take risks to stay ahead of the competition. Too many times franchises will simply try to make do with what they have, hoping some players will step up to make up for their losses. Sometimes this works, but it's still a huge gamble.
In my opinion, it's more of a gamble not to pay for Darvish's services than to rely on Alexi Ogando, who is undoubtedly talented but still only has one year of starting experience. This also allows for the Rangers to keep Neftali Feliz in the bullpen if they so choose.
The Rangers have suffered heartbreak the last two years in the World Series, but the first step is getting there in the first place and the front office should be applauded for its work.
The signing of Darvish is yet another example of the Rangers making moves to ensure they're a formidable ball club and will leave no stone unturned.
Darvish is considered by many to be the best pitcher in Japanese professional ball. During his career with Nippon-Ham, he posted a 1.99 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 1,259 strikeouts in 1,268-plus innings. During this time, he threw 58 complete games and 18 shutouts, while going a combined 93-38.
The rest of baseball better hope he doesn't live up to the hype because if he does, the Rangers are going to be a force for years to come.