Rangers, Darvish beat deadline with 6-year deal

Star Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish agreed to a six-year, $60 million contract with the Texas Rangers just before the Wednesday deadline to hammer out a deal, sources close to the negotiations told Yahoo! Sports.

Yu Darvish became the highest-paid player in Japan in 2011, but is now heading to the major leagues after signing with Texas on Wednesday.

Tacked on to the $51.7 million the Rangers paid for exclusive negotiating rights through the posting system, the total outlay is $111.7 million – and could jump another $10 million if Darvish reaches incentives in the deal.

While the posting system gives the parties 30 days to finalize a contract, negotiations didn’t advance much past the cursory stage until about 24 hours before the 5 p.m. ET deadline, according to sources. With the stakes high for both sides – the Rangers’ need for a potential frontline starting pitcher and Darvish’s desire to pitch in the major leagues – they feinted one another’s offers until settling on the terms about 15 minutes before time expired.

Darvish joins a Rangers rotation loaded with high-ceiling arms, including left-hander Derek Holland and right-hander Neftali Feliz, who will transition to starter from his closer’s role. Along with Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison, the Rangers could have Alexi Ogando, an All-Star as a starter last season, and Scott Feldman, a 17-game winner in 2009.

When the Rangers pitchers report to spring training Feb. 23, Darvish will arrive with an ace’s pedigree, huge expectations and a throng of media that will document his every move for the rest of his career.

As the New York Yankees chum the designated-hitter market with only a couple million dollars to spend and the Boston Red Sox aim to shed payroll in order to sign another starter, the Rangers have emerged as a new financial powerhouse along with their American League West rivals, the Los Angeles Angels. And while the Angels bulked up with the free-agent signings of Albert Pujols and the Rangers’ former No. 1 starter, C.J. Wilson, this offseason, Texas’ countermeasure reached its apex Wednesday.

Yu Darvish is coming to the major leagues as a Texas Ranger.

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Updated Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012