The Rangers will eventually begin discussing an extension with Japanese ace Yu Darvish, but for the time being, the team prefers to focus on the 2014 season, according to general manager Jon Daniels (via ESPN Dallas).
Darvish, who turns 28 this summer, originally signed a six-year, $56 million deal after the Rangers won the exclusive rights to negotiate with him for just over $51 million.
He'll be eligible for free agency in 2018, but his $11 million salary for 2017 can become a player option if:
[He] wins Cy Young in 2012-16 and finishes 2nd-4th in CY vote in another season 2012-16, or 2) finishes 2nd in CY vote once in 2012-16 and finishes 2nd-4th in two other seasons 2012-16 (via Cot's Baseball Contracts)
At this point, it's hard to project what a potential extension could look like for Darvish, but if he continues to dominate hitters as he has so far in his big league career, he could be setting himself up for a massive payday.
In two seasons for the Rangers, Darvish has pitched over 400 innings in one the most hitter-friendly parks in the game, still managing a 3.34 ERA and 498 strikeouts. Last season, he appeared to have fully adjusted to the American game. He posted a 2.83 ERA and finished second in AL Cy Young balloting behind Tigers' righty Max Scherzer. If he is able to finish 4th in Cy Young voting (or better) between now and 2016, he'll be able to opt out of his contract and become a free agent prior to the 2018 season.