With speculation rampant that the winning bid to negotiate with Yu Darvish exceeded the $51.1 million the Boston Red Sox posted for Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Toronto Blue Jays are widely seen as the front-runners for the Japanese pitching star.
The Rangers have been putting out signals that they would not be interested in such a high price, noting that their budget is stretched due to renovating the Ballpark in Arlington as well as buying out former front-man Chuck Greenberg.
However, according to ESPN's Buster Olney, Texas is still a serious threat to be announced as the winning team on Monday night:
Buster_ESPN Buster OlneyMost folks guessing/assuming Jays have won Darvish bidding. But just got off the phone with an AL exec who speculates smart $ is on Rangers.
As Olney points out, Toronto was heavily involved in the Matt Latos trade sweepstakes that ended over the weekend, which is slightly odd behavior if the team expected to come out on top of the Darvish derby.
The Rangers, meanwhile, have a lot of excess money after two straight World Series trips as well as a huge new TV contract they signed with Fox Sports Southwest, and there is some sentiment that they need to match the Angels after their division rivals signed Albert Pujols and former Texas starter C.J. Wilson this off-season.
After months of speculation, Darvish's team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, will announce Monday night which MLB club posted the highest bid for their 25-year old star.