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Rangers win rights to Japanese ace Darvish

The two-time AL champion Rangers posted a high $51.7 million bid for the rights to negotiate with Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish, Major League Baseball announced Monday night.

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The bid was accepted by Darvish's team, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.

Texas has 30 days to try to reach a deal with Darvish and his representatives. Should they fail, the Ham Fighters will not receive the posting fee and Darvish will stay in Japan.

"Our organization has scouted Mr. Darvish for the last several years and has been very impressed with his abilities and accomplishments," the Rangers said in a statement. "We believe he would be a great addition to the Texas Rangers pitching staff."

The Rangers' posting fee surpassed the $51.1 million the Red Sox bid for Japanese right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka before the 2007 season. With Texas still needing to sign Darvish to a contract, the total investment will likely top $100 million.

Darvish, 25, was 18-6 with a league-best 1.44 ERA and 276 strikeouts against 36 walks in 232 innings last season. At 6 feet 5 considerably taller than most Japanese pitchers, Darvish's seven-pitch repertoire includes a fastball that reportedly sits in the mid 90s and touches 97.

Rollins picks loyalty

PHILADELPHIA — When Jimmy Rollins had the chance to go elsewhere, he just couldn't walk away from the Phillies.

The smooth-talking, slick-fielding shortstop has spent nearly half his life with the same organization, so he turned down more money from the Brewers to stay in Philadelphia.

Rollins and the Phillies finalized a $33 million, three-year deal that includes a vesting option for a fourth year at $11 million. If not vested, that could be a club option at $8 million or a player option at $5 million.

"You have to take everything in consideration when you've been somewhere since you were 17," Rollins said. "To go somewhere new, at this part of my career, you feel like a rented player because you weren't part of the process of building the team up."

Rollins, 33, a three-time All-Star and the 2007 NL MVP, is the longest-tenured athlete in Philadelphia. Selected in the second round of the 1996 amateur draft, he was a free agent for the first time in his career.

Rollins, 33, sought a five-year deal. The Phillies didn't want to go that long, but Rollins didn't want to leave. So, they compromised over the weekend.

D'BACKS: Free-agent outfielder Jason Kubel agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract, pending a physical. The contract includes a mutual option for a third year. Kubel, 29, would presumably send Gold Glove leftfielder Gerardo Parra to the bench.

DODGERS: Left-handed reliever John Grabow, 33, agreed to a minor-league deal.

NATIONALS: Outfielder Mike Cameron, 39, agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Rangers win rights to Japanese ace Darvish 12/19/11 [Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2011 11:53pm]

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