Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports was first with the news on Monday night that the Texas Rangers won the rights to negotiate with Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish.
The defending American League champions bid a record $51.7 million and have 30 days to sign Darvish. If they don’t Darvish stays with the Nippon Ham Fighters and the Rangers get their money back.
The Angels have plunked down $254 for Albert Pujols and signed C.J. Wilson, the Rangers’ top starter, for $77.5 million. If Texas can work out terms with Darvish, some estimates have this move costing the club $100 million, and possibly more.
Every winter the eye-popping numbers for free agents grow larger. But for a pitching arm untested against major league hitting, and in The Ballpark at Arlington that’s considered hitting friendly, the real matter here is risk.
Given the example of Daisuke Matsuzaka, who cost the Red Sox $51 million five years ago, some are already issuing “buyer beware” calls. Darvish may have a fabulous arm, but it is a pitching arm.
Rangers, you’re on the clock.