Editor's Note: Before we shift our complete focus to the 2013 season, let's take a quick look back at 10 memorable moments -- games, signings, events -- from the 2012 campaign. By memorable, we mean both good and bad moments. And we've now reached our top 5.
Moment No. 4: Texas signs Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish just prior to the deadline on Jan. 18.
Before we get to Jan. 18, we have to back up a bit. While the Winter Meetings were wrapping up -- those meetings in Dallas included one of the Rangers' biggest rivals, the Angels, signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson -- general manager Jon Daniels and his staff were busy putting the finishing touches on two separate presentations to club owners Ray Davis and Bob Simpson, co-chairman of the board. The baseball staff wanted to go after Darvish and that required a major financial commitment.
The staff had convinced Nolan Ryan to back them and the CEO decided that a presentation from the baseball front office rather than Ryan himself might better sell the proposal. Davis and Simpson agreed to what ended up becoming a $51.7 million posting bid. And they weren't sure if that would be enough to land Darvish. The bid went in that December and on Dec. 18, the Rangers were notified that they had won the bidding and would begin negotiations with Darvish and his representatives. They had a month to get a deal done or Darvish would pitch in Japan in 2012.
The Rangers didn't take anything for granted. The scouts and personnel that had followed Darvish established contact with the family. Josh Boyd went to Japan to help iron things out. And Daniels, assistant GM Thad Levine and others worked with Darvish's representatives (Don Nomura and Arn Tellem) to get a six-year, $56 million deal completed (Darvish gets $4 million more if he stays healthy in those final few years of the deal).
A few weeks prior to the deadline, the Rangers entertained Darvish and his father. The club treated it like a recruiting trip, showing a video on the big screen, touring the ballpark and potential places to live and giving Darvish a taste of life in Texas.
The day the deal came together -- Jan. 18 -- was an interesting one in Arlington. Japanese media had stayed through the night just in case a deal got done hours before the deadline, but things didn't come together until that afternoon. Darvish was still in Japan, but made his way to Texas two days later for the official news conference.
But the posting and the signing represented yet another major step for the club. It showed it has an ownership group willing to spend money and one that put its trust in the front office.