DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – So here we are, edge of our seats. Spicy Sushi Eel Rolls tenuously balanced on chopsticks, ready to indulge. But still we wait.
For Yu Darvish.
Hasn’t history taught us a damn thing?
It was 10 years ago Monday – Jan. 16, 2002 – that the Texas Rangers unveiled what was hyped to be the most amazing Asian import since the Toshiba laptop. And how did free-agent pitcher Chan Ho Park live up to his 5-year, $65 million contract? With a 22-23 record over four forgettable seasons and a cumulative ERA of 6.11. Yep, Park was a bigger bust than Morganna the Kissing Bandit.
With Japanese media huddled at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington under the American comforts of pizza and beer, we tap our foot impatiently for today’s 4 p.m. deadline for Darvish to signish. General manager Jon Daniels worked through the night with agents Arn Tellem and Don Nomura to sign the 25-year-old pitching sensation to a contract. Apparently there’s a snag bigger than the difference five and six years. The Rangers have already paid $51.7 million to his Japanese team – the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters – just for the right to exclusively negotiate with Darvish.
Seems like a lot of fuss to chase down that one strike that eluded the Rangers in last year’s World Series.
Not doubting that Darvish is a good pitcher. The guy’s been at it professionally since he was 18, compiling a record of 93-38 with an ERA the last five seasons never above 2.00. He’s 6-foot-5. He throws seven pitches. He dominates. He doesn’t require an “accountability partner.” He is … better than C.J. Wilson? Than Cliff Lee?
My experience tells me grand arrivals in the Metroplex are usually as much flop as fantastic. Today as we frantically call our Rangers’ sources and try to get a feel of what and when with Darvish, I’m reminded of other over-hyped acquisitions:
Nolan Ryan. Lee. Herschel Walker. Terrell Owens. Deion Sanders. Alex Rodriguez. Super Bowl 45.
I expect this deal to get done. Who walks away from millions to pitch in America to go back to Japan? No one, that’s who. Especially not Yu.
… Sometimes, Yu Get What Yu Need.