Nolan Ryan “optimistic” about striking deal with Yu Darvish

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The Rangers have less than a week to work out a contract with Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish, for whom they committed a record $51,703,411 posting fee back in mid-December. But there’s no concern within the organization about the ticking clock.

According to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas, Rangers president Nolan Ryan said Thursday night that he’s “optimistic” about reaching a deal before next Wednesday’s deadline. Here’s the quote:

“My expectation is that we’ll get something done,” said Ryan. “It’s a process, so during the period that we negotiate with someone, we really don’t talk about it. I’m optimistic.”

The Rangers’ first offer to Darvish was said to be in the range of the six-year, $52 million contract that Daisuke Matsuzaka signed with the Red Sox in December of 2006. Darvish, meanwhile, is reportedly seeking a deal worth closer to $75 million in total value. So there’s likely still work to be done.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.