Yu Darvish – Worth the Hype?

Yu Darvish will be the new ace of the Texas Rangers, costing the losers of the last two World Series around $110 million, making the 25 year old pitcher, who has been on their watch list for over two years now, one of the biggest enigmas and probably anticipated new signings heading into the 2012 MLB season.

The Rangers won the chance to deal with the player by paying $51.7 million to the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters for the right to deal with the player. It took them the entire 30 day authorized period for negotiations before their option on the player was gone to reach a six year, $60 million deal. The numbers are very similar to those involved in the Daisuke Matsuzaka signing by the Boston Red Sox in 2007.

Is Darvish another Dice-K, which started out very well but has since dropped to disappointing mediocrity? He made only 7 starts in 2011 for the Red Sox, finishing with a 3-3 record and a 5.30 ERA before heading into surgery in June to end his season. In 2008 Dice-K finished with an 18-3 record, posting a 2.90 ERA, but that season stood out among the rest. His durability and staggering pitch count soon turned to be a weak spot.

Darvish enters the league a bit younger than Dice-K did in 2007, but with better Pacific league numbers. A 93-38 record, a 1.99 career ERA, but Japanese pitchers need time, and the right people around them to actually turn phenomenal success in Japan to something similar in the North American Majors. Darivsh does have a different kind of background story – An Iranian father and a Japanese mother who met in Florida. Does this mean good things? the Rangers are hoping it does.

It’s a declaration. After C.J. Wilson left Texas to the Angels for a five year, $75 million contract, the organization keeps its faith in building on excellent, potentially, pitching. It probably takes them out of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes, which have been going on for too long, but it also firmly continues the policy that has made the Rangers reach heights the franchise has never known. Pitching is the key to titles, and the belief, and money, put in acquiring Yu Darvish, is just an extension of that school of thought.