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Thursday, 19th January 2012
In Sports, Japan Sports News,

Yu Darvish seals dream move to Texas Rangers

One of the most talked-about moves in baseball has come to an end after Texas Rangers completed a deal with Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish that sees the player move across the Pacific to the MLB.

The deal makes Darvish the most expensive player in Japanese baseball history, with Rangers paying his former side Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters a $51,703,411 (£33,457,184) posting  fee in addition to the six-year, $60 million (£39 million) contract agreed with the star.

While the move is great news for Darvish, fans in Japan are mourning the departure of 25-year-old, who moves to the US having twice won the Pacific League's Most Valuable Player award, the AFP reported.

The price paid to take Darvish to America easily surpassed the fees involved to take the former most expensive Japanese player, Daisuke Matsuzaka to the Boston Red Sox six years ago, but some believe that the Rangers have picked up a bargain.

Speaking to the media in Japan, the Fighters coach Hideki Kuriyama said he thought that Darvish went for below his real value.

"He is a pitcher who deserves more," the news agency quoted him as saying.

"As a person who has been following the majors closely, I want to say he is better than that."

Naturally, the loss of a player with a career record 93-38 and lifetime 1.99 ERA will be hard for the Sapporo side, but Kuriyama said he expected his departure.

"I expect Darvish to win at least 18 games [a year]," he said.

"He'll get 20 wins if things go really well. I look forward to seeing how he will dominate hitters in the world's most competitive leagues."

Having declined to talk to the media himself, it is expected that Darvish will make his first public appearance in Texas on Friday with a press conference scheduled for when the pitcher returns to Japan.

Darvish will help the Rangers fill the hole left by C J Wilson, who moved to the LA Angels in December.

Written by Mark Smith