News


2012-01-19

Darvish had eyes on majors from long ago



January 19, 2012
ARLINGTON (Kyodo) -- A few years ago, Yu Darvish secretly asked Arn Tellem, now his agent, to start drawing up a player evaluation report for his future move to the major leagues.
The high-profile right-hander has raised his level every year and put up the type of numbers that made the Texas Rangers spend a total of more than $110 million to acquire his services.
While in Japan, Darvish did not care too much about individual titles.
Last year, he had a chance to pitch for his 19th win, which would have put him in a tie for the Pacific League lead with the Rakuten Eagles' Masahiro Tanaka, but decided to skip his scheduled start in the Nippon Ham Fighters' last regular-season game to prepare for the playoffs.
Darvish became the first pitcher since the beginning of the two-league era in Japan in 1950 to keep an ERA below 2.00 for five seasons in a row.
He struck out a baseball-leading 276 over 232 innings while issuing just 36 walks and giving up only five home runs.
Darvish drastically improved his strikeout-walk ratio to 7.67 from 4.72 in 2010.
That is better than the 6.29 ratio Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies turned in to lead the majors, though the level of play in Japan is seen by many baseball watchers as somewhere between the big leagues and Triple-A.
Darvish also had a WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of 0.83 in 2011, which was better than AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander's (Detroit Tigers) major league-best 0.92.
For contract negotiations, Tellem used hundreds of pages of documents that contain the summary phrase: "Yu is honored to be prized so highly and recognized as a once-in-a-generation pitcher."
The Rangers won the exclusive negotiating rights with a record bid of $51.7 million in mid-December and announced Wednesday they have agreed to a six-year deal without disclosing financial terms.
The Associated Press has reported the deal is worth $60 million.

(Read full story at Mainichi Japan)