After a month of mostly behind-the-scenes negotiating, the Texas Rangers have reportedly come to terms with Yu Darvish for a six-year deal hours before the 4 PM Wednesday negotiating deadline:
The deal would keep the 25-year old Japanese star in Arlington until the 2018 season, potentially giving the Rangers the security of penciling a front-of-the-rotation starter for the longest period in the history of the traditionally pitching-starved franchise.
Darvish, a 6'5 220 right-hander whose father is a native Iranian, is bigger than most Japanese pitchers, one of the reasons why Texas thinks he'll be better equipped to handle the difficult transition to the MLB.
He has nothing left to prove in Japan, as he's dominated the NPL, with an ERA well under 2.00 in each of the last five seasons.
With the money they used to sign Darvish, the Rangers could have re-signed C.J. Wilson or pursued Prince Fielder aggressively, so how well he pitches for the two-time defending AL champions will be one of the biggest story-lines in baseball in the 2012 season.