Are Yu Kidding Me? The Texas Rangers Are About to Open the Bank Vault For Darvish.

Categories: Sports
Yu_Darvish_GQcover.jpg
In winning the well-publicized bidding for Yu Darvish shortly after 10 Monday night, the Texas Rangers have positioned themselves to sign the famous Japanese hurler to one of the riskiest contracts in baseball history. And unless the 25-year-old right-hander immediately establishes himself among the upper-tier dominant pitchers in the game and helps the team capture an elusive title, Texas is also setting up its fans up for a serious dose of disappointment.

Not Kevin Millwood-like disappointment. Not Chan Ho Park-like disappointment. Not even Alex Rodriguez-like disappointment. If Darvish isn't the missing piece to the championship puzzle, it could be the kind of disappointment only bested by Game 6 of this year's World Series.

Of course, inking Darvish could also become the savviest move of the offseason and finally secure a World Series victory for an organization and fan base that's thirsty for one following two consecutive botched attempts. I certainly wouldn't put it past Jon Daniels, who I view as the best general manager in the game right now, to have made the right move once again.

Barring injury, Darvish makes the Rangers a better club. And maybe, just maybe, he's the right acquisition to finally put this team over the top. I certainly hope so, and I don't think it's crazy for Daniels and ownership to think that's exactly what's going to happen.

But if it doesn't work out that way, it will be easy to look back and point to Darvish as the reason why.

If the Rangers agree on a contract with Darvish (and there's no reason at this point to suggest they won't), they'll have paid two-thirds of the total amount C.J. Wilson signed for with the Los Angeles Angels ($77.5 million) just for the right to do so. Several media outlets have independently confirmed the Rangers' bid of $51.7 million, which is roughly $600,000 more than the Boston Red Sox paid five years ago to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka.

The Rangers have until January 18 to sign Darvish to a contract. There have been lots of numbers thrown out there about the amount he's expected to be paid, with most estimates around the $70 million range. I'm guessing his deal lands somewhere in the neighborhood of six years and $75 million ($12.5 million per year), and it could very well be more.

That would be a total of $126.7 million invested in Darvish, which averages $21.12 million per year. (Although the $51.7 million must be paid in a lump sum to the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters immediately following successful negotiations. Ouch.)

Only two pitchers in the history of baseball have averaged that much money annually: CC Sabathia ($24.4 million) and Cliff Lee ($24 million). That's it. End of list.

American League Cy Young and MVP Justin Verlander is set to earn $20 million for each of the next three years. Same with two-time Cy Young winner Roy Halladay. And Jered Weaver is set to earn $17 million annually after signing a five-year extension with the Angels in August.

So what makes Darvish worth the equivalent of the third-highest annual salary the game has ever seen? Daniels isn't in a position to answer that question because he hasn't been signed to a contract yet. However, when asked in last night's conference call with reporters what he saw in Darvish when he scouted him personally earlier this year, Daniels said he'd prefer not to answer that question either. And when asked why the organization was willing to commit so much to Darvish while letting Wilson walk away to a division rival, Daniels danced around the topic, eventually saying, "It's premature to compare Darvish to other players."

As for Daniels's long-standing plan to keep the club's core intact, he said, "Our mentality stays the same with that."

Winning the Darvish sweepstakes proves that the team's financial position is much stronger than anyone realized, but keeping the core together just got a lot harder. Mike Napoli, Josh Hamilton and Colby Lewis are free agents at the end of the upcoming season. Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz are scheduled to hit the open market at the end of 2013. And Derek Holland, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and others are due raises as they reach arbitration.

I don't even want to take a stab at how much total dough we're talking about there, but it's hard to imagine Texas having enough to keep everyone.

With that said, I endorsed letting Wilson bolt even before the World Series was over, along with letting Hamilton go as well when his contract expires, but it's tough to wrap my brain around opening up the bank vault for Darvish. Especially when established young aces like Cole Hamels, Matt Cain and Zack Greinke top next year's free agent class and pitchers James Shields, Gio Gonzalez and Matt Garza could be had in a trade for the right package of prospects.

And especially when, well, we have absolutely no idea what Darvish can do in the bigs. Zip. Zero. Nada. Sure, he had impressive stats in Japan -- 18-6 record with a 1.44 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 276 strikeouts in 232 innings with 10 complete games and six shutouts in 2011 -- but that's in the same league where MLB rejects like Alex Cabrera and Tuffy Rhodes have posted 55-homer seasons.

How will Darvish adjust to throwing a different sized ball from a different mound to the best hitters in the world, while playing half his games at one of the most hitter-friendly stadiums in baseball and tossing every fifth day instead of sixth?

That's the $126.7 million question.

I'm not projecting Hideki Irabu-like or Kei Igawa-like failure on Darvish. His pitching repertoire (an array of sharp breaking pitches to go along with a mid-90s fastball) and size (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) put him in his own category.

But he could easily become a solid No. 3 starter in the mold of Matsuzaka and Hideo Nomo while the team is paying him more than the Verlanders and Halladays of the world.

Daniels said, "Our ownership really went the extra mile."

No doubt about that. Let's just hope it was for the right guy.
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74 comments
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TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

I hate not having a Sportatorium. My lazy sports ass just saw that Endy Chavez signed with the O's.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Bitch at Mr. Tone, I scratched and clawed and bitched and cried..got Wilonsky to throw a couple of posts up..then Tone said because of the 42 food department writers, he couldn't possibly be expected to pay the light bill in the Sporty..

Does anyone else see a correlation to the amount of CoA writers since RW left and the Ranger's ability to sign anyone worth a shit after signing Aroid.

Methinks Joe Tone likes food much, much more than Texas sporting teams.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Did you get the email notification of my reply that just got deleted? I feel honored, for getting a post deleted that wasn't even inflammatory.Nice to see 5 food blog posts today in American's #1 sports city.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Maybe it didnt post. JBG didn't get it, but I put a funny one out there, weird that I thought it posted. Don't worry RW, I'll get IT on it.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Wait -- a reply deleted in Unfair Park? Because I certainly didn't do that.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

No sir, got this one..they sensitive up in heara..don't go talking bad about food!

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

CoA writers will work for food. Also, it's a good area to find women that can write since most can't cook these days(sorry wife). Nice to see Joe penning articles and replies in CoA. Aren't food blogs all pretty much rehashes though? This issue is headscratchy at best. Look at the replies on sportsy issues versus serious food blogs versus food blog giveup one sentencers(yes, talking to you Joe Tone http://blogs.dallasobserver.co...

It's a great time to be in sports blogging, especially with all the paywalling going around.

MattL1
MattL1

This all sounds eerily familiar.  

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

To?

MattL1
MattL1

My Red Sox and a certain Japanese pitcher who shall remain nameless

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Pretty much a completely different animal, but can see how you'd believe them similar.

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

CBS Sports' Jon Heyman says, "Don't count Rangers out on [Prince] Fielder," adding that Texas and Josh Hamilton might not agree on the number of years on an extension beyond 2012.

http://bit.ly/spBVaI

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

That beeping sound you hear, is the Ranger's money truck backing up.  If Josh won't sign a 5-6 year deal for 75-90 mil (which he won't, he's gonna want Werth money and years), then take that 15 a year and tack on another 4 to 5 mil, and bring in young Mr. Fielder.

What's it cost for Hambone, Sam? Hometown discount, and knowing it will be his last chance at a 5/6/7 year deal?  (methinks he'll turn his nose up at anything less that 6/120)

What's it cost for Prince?  160 for 8? Player option after 4 years?

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

I could stand losing Josh if Fielder keeps pumping out the numbers he's had. That being said, I think Josh will have a career year. As far as longevity goes, I just can't see him having the output over the next 5 years that Fielder will. Idk man, it just seems like there's always something hurting on Josh. I don't follow baseball as much as everyone else here does, but if he can't take $15 a year for 5, I don't see him here.

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

I would think eight years and $175 million is ballpark for Fielder. As for Hamilton, I don't see him taking a penny less than $100 million over five years (although six and $120 million as you mentioned makes sense too), which is two years too many, far as I'm concerned. And I think the Rangers would agree.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Hamilton at $20 million a year?

No thank you, unless you can subtract $4 million for every DL stint.

MBM
MBM

I like Hamilton, naivety and blind loyalty be damned.  Make a make good offer for a dude that has been a model teammate and helped put us on the map.  Make good and get a little give.

That being said, I don't care how much Yu costed, we need to strike while the iron's hot and try to capitalize while our core is in place.  I agree with some previous posters, if Nolan, JD, the Maddox's, and our Jap scouts like the guy...........then I have to side with them.  Unless of course you somehow know more than them.....

Stay hard.

Baseball Jesus
Baseball Jesus

Stop me if you've heard this before: new owner...drunken sailor...states one philosophy then immediately contradicts it...oversized contract..."best" player in baseball. Here we go again!

DaTruth
DaTruth

It'd be a big pay increase considering his contract in Japan is just over $6 million. And he is pretty cute, so that is an upgrade over CJ as far as being easy on the eyes.

just sayin'
just sayin'

I am sure that they rationalized the price paid for Yu by thinking that they are about to open a new revenue stream in Asia along the likes of Ichiro and Yoa Ming. If he performs, he will sell a lot of shirts in the Pacific rim. And DFW does have quite the asian population.

At the very least, I think Darvish will have a pretty good year in his first season. Unlike Dice-K, Darvish stays around the plate and doesnt waste a ton of pitches. It will take damn near the whole season before his opponents have had some at bats against him and the scouts have pinpointed any flaws/habits. Until then, he is going to blow through some lineups like Noran Wyan.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Also stadium sponsorships--look at Mariners games, they have quite a few ads around the building in Japanese.

Lee
Lee

The broadcasting rights will also be a good revenue stream.  I once heard that there's a channel in Japan that broadcasts (or at least used to broadcast) every Ichiro at bat.

Evan
Evan

Unfortunately, we won't be seeing any more of that t-shirt revenue than any other team, due to revenue sharing. It definitely increases the Asian market locally, and I'm sure there's some kind of money to be made showing the games internationally, but it's not likely to negate the $52 million posting fee.

Oak Cliff Clavin
Oak Cliff Clavin

If JD, Mike Maddox, Greg Maddox (probably) and the Express say he's good, I like his chances.

Augie
Augie

Well mission accomplished as you got a lot of traffic and commentary. What you said was designed to do that, but really a lot of comparisons that you fret over make no sense and your hyperbole was not necessary or helpful.  This is no A-rod deal...the longest it will be is 5 years, not 10 and the team now isn't going all in on its limited cash for this one player.  Nope, we've got new owners willing to spend and a TV contract that makes this a risk, but not one that breaks the bank and destroys the team if it fails.  So, the A-rod comparison is bunk.  

As for the possible hamstringing of big name trades...how?  The only thing that will prevent a Gio G trade, etc is the asking price being too high in prospects. The main thing about this deal is "it is only money." A lot of money, yes, but we are in a unique time for this team where we have it to spend and have enough pieces in place that on the long shot that this guy turns out to be a 2 or I'll say it, an ACE, then it makes sense to do this now while we have so many great position players under contract.  Trades involving moving a lot of chips and given the Rangers success, the asking price for dealing with the Rs is going to be very high from now on.  No more Teixeira deals are going to happen. So, again, not a valid concern. 

Does this keep us from signing players on our roster long term? That remains to be seen.  We still have financial flexibility for the reasons set forth above.  It is unlikely all those players you name will be with us forever as they are coveted and will get offers that don't makes sense to match...but that is not because this is the 90's Rangers who emptied their one and only bank account. No, it will be because it isn't a smart baseball move to pay what the market price is. 

If you haven't seen enough to know that Daniels isn't a Riverboat gambler and makes way more good deals than bad, you never will.  I think what is going on is just an attempt to rile the readers and if so, well done sir, well done.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Yes, Darvish has the uncertainties of playing in the majors--different ball, mound and hitters--and yes,there is more certainty with Gio et al, although all except gio are older than Yu (ages 26-30).  But to do this without giving up prospects--who will go a long way for the tradeable players out there--and being able to negotiate on an exclusive basis, makes this deal that should be done.  Nobody out there is saying there is anything marginal about Yu.  Mid nineties fastball thrown three ways, three other pitches, etc.  Supposedly Bobby Valentine thinks he will be up there with the four pitchers in baseball.  Thank you JD, Bob Simpson and pals, and good luck.

Augie
Augie

Well mission accomplished as you got a lot of traffic and commentary. What you said was designed to do that, but really a lot of comparisons that make no sense and hyperbole used that was not necessary or helpful.  This is no A-rod deal...the longest it will be is 5 years, not 10 and the team now isn't going all in on its limited cash for this one player.  Nope, we've got new owners willing to spend and a TV contract that makes this a risk, but not one that breaks the bank and destroys the team if it fails.  So, the A-rod comparison is bunk.  

As for the possible hamstringing of big name trades...how?  The only thing that will prevent a Gio G trade, etc is the asking price being too high in prospects. The main thing about this deal is "it is only money." A lot of money, yes, but we are in a unique time for this team where we have it to spend and have enough pieces in place that on the long shot that this guy turns out to be a 2 or I'll say it, an ACE, then it makes sense to do this now while we have so many great position players under contract.  Trades involving moving a lot of chips and given the Rangers success, the asking price for dealing with the Rs is going to be very high from now on.  No more Teixeira deals are going to happen. So, again, not a valid concern. 

Does this keep us from signing players on our roster long term? That remains to be seen.  We still have financial flexibility for the reasons set forth above.  It is unlikely all those players you name will be with us forever as they are coveted and will get offers that don't makes sense to match...but that is not because this is the 90's Rangers emptying their one and only bank account. No, it will be because it isn't a smart baseball move. 

If you haven't seen enough to know that Daniels isn't a Riverboat gambler and makes way more good deals than bad, you never will.  I think what is going on is just an attempt to rile the readers and if so, well done sir, well done.   

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

Must-read on Grantland about overvaluing prospects:

http://www.grantland.com/story...

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

That is a great article, too bad you have to dig through 75% of the other shit on there to get to the good ones.  I said that 2 weeks ago like you sam, why not trade unproven prospects for someone who you know can perform at the big league level for someone who may never even reach the level of the person they are being traded for.  I knwo you like Gio but is a Shields/upton trade still on the table if you let josh walk?  Do you tihnk the rangers are willing to let josh walk

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

I'd still love a deal for Shields and Upton, actually even more so now. (Imagine a rotation of Shields-Darvish-Holland-Lewis-Feliz. Wowza.) As for letting Hambone walk, I do think the club will ultimately balk at his demands. Signing him to an exorbitant, long-term deal given his injury history would be the equivalent of buying a pricey lotto ticket, and, in Darvish, Texas already has one.

Mishon
Mishon

Hambone's 2-run shot in the top of the 10th of Game 6 was the last time I was excited about baseball. That is until last night! Quit thinking about how this may backfire and just be stoked that the little Rangers are becoming a big boy club right before our eyes. JD has earned our trust.

The Rangers/Angels rivalry/arms race is getting delicious. I can't wait for May 11-13. I think I may go to all 3 games.    

Mikey
Mikey

Can you still call them the little Rangers after the past 2 seasons?

Mishon
Mishon

If KTCK is still "the little Ticket", then yes they can still be called that.

Storm_71
Storm_71

I hope the Rangers lite Wilson up like a Christmas tree.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

It's not my money, therefore I love the move.

And this definitely adds to my theory that CJ wore out his welcome and they had no intention on keeping him unless he signed for one hell of a bargain deal.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

I can't imagine his act playing to rave reviews in the California Angels clubhouse after a couple of months. It's one thing to bring him up from a pup and just gradually dosing on his progressively more absurd persona and another to just have him dropped in the middle of an aging group of major leaguers.

Can't wait to read the stories.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Just imagine what it'd be like to be around baseball's Chris Chris each and every day. He's probably better than ARod was, but it took a good couple years before it finally came out how damn annoying Alex was in the clubhouse.

Storm_71
Storm_71

+1 fuck CJ Wilson I'm glad he's gone.

ThongNCheese
ThongNCheese

Doesn't it feel good that money isn't an issue for our favorite sports team?!

BBTiA had a fun chat going last night...I think over 1,000 people joined in. That is some major interest in Yu know who. I'm excited about this since I fully trust the great JD. I hope we find out what the other bids were.

Storm_71
Storm_71

I've been looking so long at these pictures of Yu. That I almost believe that they're real

Storm_71
Storm_71

I've liked Darvish all along and I think this is a good move. That being said sure he could bust if he does the question is how big a bust? He turns out to be a #3 starter?? I'll take that for the high end possible return. I like the idea of hanging on to our prospects. How much would Gio Gonzales cost Olt, Perez, Profar??? Odds are I would think the Rangers would hit on at least one of those kids. We can now keep the kids in our back pocket develope them or if need be turn them and still hopfully have a high end top of the rotation guy in Darvish.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

I think Ryan and Daniels have done enough with this franchise to earn our trust by now.  Darvish is 7 years younger than CJ and let's face it there is no way he could possibly spit the bit more in the playoffs than our dearly departed douche did.

The Rangers are now a team that makes moves with winning the World Series as the goal.

As for the money at least we will get a few world championships in exchange for Bob Simpson poisoning the water that our mutant offspring will be drinking for generations to come.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

in a world where people will be late on a house payment or car payment to attend a world sereies game, yeah I guess we'd all be cool with deformed kiddos if it meant he bought a world series or 3

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Also, I know its a ton of money, but wont they recoup some of that money on the marketing side from jersey sales, not only here but abroad?  Jim knox sure is going to have a lot more japanese people to interview during games now too. 

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

I cant remember who explained this yesterday on the radio, but it makes perfect sense. This isnt the same as giving Ceej $20 mil/year, noone in Japan buys Ceej jerseys or tunes in to watch Ceej. The Mariners saw a great increase in revenue when they added Ichiro, from concessions to jersey sales to tv viewership. Or the Rockets with Yao. It's kind of a no brainer if you get a country's #1 star athlete, that they will follow them.  The posting should more than pay for itself.

Guesty
Guesty

Maybe an Iranian motocrosser or two also.

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