It was announced early Tuesday that the bidding for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish was won by the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers, who won the bidding with an offer around $51.7 million, now have 30 days to sign Darvish to a contract, before he would return back to Japan to play. The bid for Darvish does not include the contract they would sign with him, so the Rangers are looking at investing over $100 million into Darvish if they do indeed sign him.
My question: what are the Texas Rangers thinking with this move?
In his career in Japan, Darvish is 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA and is considered the best pitcher in Japan. There is not doubt that Darvish is very talented, but is he really worth all of this money?
For one thing, the Texas starting rotation already appears to be brilliant coming into this season. The rotation right now (in no particular order) would feature Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis and former closer Neftali Feliz.
Another question I have with this decision on Darvish is why did the Rangers not just push harder to bring back their ace pitcher C.J. Wilson? Wilson went on to sign a five-year, $77.5 million deal with the Rangers' division rival, the Los Angeles Angels.
Could the Angels possibly be what this move is all about?
With all the media attention the Angels are receiving for their acquisitions of Wilson and slugger Albert Pujols this offseason, could this be a ploy by the Rangers to get some of that attention directed back toward them?
I believe it most likely is.
Darvish has been the center of a lot of hype over the past few offseasons. Many people have wondered when the Japanese superstar would finally come over and try his luck in the MLB. With the Rangers winning the bidding for Darvish, they have focused the offseason attention back toward them, and away from the Angels.
Darvish would indeed be an outstanding offseason pickup for Texas. I think Darvish could contribute mightily to the Rangers rotation, and may even make them consider putting Feliz back into the bullpen. The only problem for Texas is the price. How high will the Rangers be willing to go to make Darvish a member of their organization?
Regardless of what happens with the Darvish signing, the Rangers have done one thing with winning this bid; they have stopped the noise in LA about Wilson and Pujols being sent from heaven. The defending American League champions have turned the baseball spotlight back toward them and away from Los Angeles.
The Texas Rangers are once again the talk of baseball. Maybe that was all they were looking for.