BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

The posting bids to secure the negotiating rights to sign Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish were due Wednesday at 4:00 PM.  From receipt, the process is supposed to be the forwarding of the highest bid to the Nippon Ham Fighters, his Japanese team, who will presumably accept the money for giving up the rights to a very good player.  The name of the team with the highest bid is not provided; only the amount.

Recent reports have four teams that made bids.  The Rangers were one of those teams, as were the Cubs, Blue Jays and Yankees.  There are perhaps other bidders that have not been identified.  The Rangers have not confirmed publicly that they even submitted a bid, and no team has stepped up to announce the amount it did bid.  However, multiple outlets are reporting that Toronto submitted the highest bid, which was at least $40 million, and perhaps is as much as $60 million. 

It was thought that the bid would be accepted almost immediately, such that the team with the winning bid would be announced Thursday morning, if not later Wednesday night.  At this point there is still no announcement, and there is some thought that the Fighters may take the full amount of time to accept.  That could be as late as next Wednesday.

Submitting the winning bid does not assure the team with that bid that it will sign Darvish.  That team will have 30 days to negotiate a contract.  If Darvish does not agree to sign, the posting fee is returned.

In other Ranger pitching matters, the team has entered discussions to ink Derek Holland to a five year contract to lock him up through the 2016 season.  The team would be buying out his three arbitration years and the first season he could be a free agent.  Certainly over the second half of the 2011 season, Holland was the Rangers’ best starting pitcher.  He has always displayed on occasion the ability to be a top starter, but after the All-Star break, he showed more consistency, the missing ingredient for reaching his goal.

COCKTAIL CONVERSATION:  The Rangers have assigned uniform number 36 to newly signed closer Joe Nathan, which is the number he wore as a member of the Twins.  C. J. Wilson has worn #36 most recently for Texas.

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