Yu Darvish, the Texas Rangers ace who has become Japan’s second costliest export to Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States behind Masahiro Tanaka’s megabuck transfer to the New York Yankees, was in a joking mood in spring training on Tuesday. The Japanese ace who led MLB in strikeouts last season laughingly quipped that the Yankees may have paid too much for Tanaka, causing his comment to be spread all over Twitter and other social media.
Darvish wisecracked that the Yankees might have paid too much for his fellow Japanese right-hander by giving him a seven-year, US$155 million contract on top of a $20 million posting fee to the Rakuten Golden Eagles. This topped Darvish’s own transfer cost, where the Rangers offered him a six-year, US$56-million deal before the 2012 season, this after the Rangers paid US$51.7 million to Hokkaido for the right to negotiate with him. “I don’t know the details of the posting system, but I think the Yankees gave him a little bit too much,” Darvish said with a laugh through his interpreter. Even before the session was done, his remark was trending all over social media. This has caused the Rangers to release a statement to make sure everyone knew that their Japanese pitcher was indeed joking.
“I am sorry if anyone took my comment seriously about Masahiro Tanaka at the press conference,” Darvish said in the statement. “I assumed by the reaction in the room that everyone knew I was joking.” The 27-year-old Darvish could opt out of his contact after five years, with a statute included in his contract that he can do so if he wins a Cy Young Award. Darvish was actually very close to the prestigious award last year, finishing second to Max Scherzer in the balloting after leading the majors with 277 strikeouts. But Darvish said that he has improved this year, a scary thought for all of MLB hitters. “You’ll probably see during the course of the season how much I have improved,” Darvish said. “I’m more relaxed and I can do many things at my own pace and I’m aware of what’s going on and people know me better than in the past.”
[via All Voices]