If the Rangers seemed so unconcerned with losing C.J. Wilson in free agency, it’s probably because they knew they were going to make a strong play for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Texas won the bidding for Darvish by posting a record $51.7 million for the right to negotiate with him. They have 30 days to agree on a contract, and they will likely spend at least a total of $100 million. It’s hard to say it won’t be worthwhile.
Darvish is young (25 years old), tall (6’5″), and his stats were more impressive than any other Japanese pitcher who played in MLB. Darvish was 18-6 with a league-best 1.44 ERA and 276 strikeouts last season. He’s had five straight seasons with a sub-2.00 ERA. He was 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA in his Japanese career.
The Angels spent less money for Wilson than the Rangers did for Darvish, but I’d rather have Yu. It’s true that he’s unproven in America, but his Japanese numbers and success at the World Baseball Classic make me believe he will be greater than Wilson. Rangers fans will also be happy to hear that Darvish’s Japan stats were much better than Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideo Nomo, and Kei Igawa. This was a nice pull by Texas, though the adjustment to pitching in Arlington and in the bigs won’t be easy.
Our Alan Hull wrote this Yu Darvish scouting report two years ago in case you’re interested in reading more about the Japanese stud.Google+