NEW YORK (AP) - After losing a pair of aces in the last two years, the Texas Rangers are going global to land a new one.
Winner of consecutive AL pennants, Texas also won the Yu Darvish sweepstakes Monday night with a record bid of $51.7 million. Now, the Rangers get 30 days to negotiate a contract with Darvish that would put Japan’s best pitcher at the top of their rotation.
“Obviously, it’s a very exciting night for our organization, our fans and our community,” general manager Jon Daniels said on a conference call.
Major League Baseball announced that the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan’s Pacific League accepted the highest bid for Darvish. That sealed offer was submitted under the posting system by the Rangers.
“Our ownership went the extra mile on this one,” Daniels said, declining to reveal specifics.
A person familiar with the details said the winning bid by Texas was $51.7 million _ more than the $51.1 million posting fee the Boston Red Sox paid for Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the figure was not made public.
Yahoo Sports and The New York Times reported the amount first.
Darvish is considered the best pitcher in the Japanese professional leagues and several of baseball’s biggest spenders were thought to be interested in him.
If the Rangers can close the deal, the 25-year-old right-hander would join a rotation that already includes five starters: Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando and former closer Neftali Feliz, moved out of the bullpen when the club signed free-agent reliever Joe Nathan this offseason.
It’s a dynamic endeavor for the Rangers, buoyed by a lucrative television contract and back-to-back AL championships under a new ownership group led by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan. But the team is still chasing its first World Series title _ and Texas knows all too well that nothing is done until it is done.
Despite a serious effort, the Rangers were unable to re-sign star pitcher Cliff Lee following the 2010 season. They made it back to the World Series anyway and were within one strike of winning it all _ twice _ before the St. Louis Cardinals rallied to take the trophy.
Then the Rangers lost their latest ace, C.J. Wilson, when the left-hander agreed to a $77.5 million, five-year contract with the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels this month.
“Our commitment of our ownership is to put the best team out there. The last couple of years we just haven’t been able to close it out,” Daniels said.
Bidding for the posting fee closed last Wednesday, and the Ham Fighters had until 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday to accept. The fee will be paid only if a contract agreement is reached with Darvish’s agents, Arn Tellem and Don Nomura.