Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish told Anthony Andro of Fox Sports Southwest on Tuesday afternoon, "I don't know too much about the new posting system but I think the Yankees gave him too much."
Following his comments, Darvish released a statement later on Tuesday insisting that he was joking in regards to Tanaka's contract.
"I am sorry if anyone took my comment seriously about Masahiro Tanaka at the press conference today," Darvish said. "I assumed by the reaction in the room that everyone knew I was joking."
Tanaka's deal with the Yankees has been a divisive topic, with some questioning how a team could pay $155 million to a player who has never thrown a pitch in the majors. Others have countered with the argument that Tanaka is just 25 years old, and therefore, a rare commodity in today's free agent landscape, which is often made up of players in their late 20s or early 30s.
Back in 2012, Darvish signed a six-year, $56 million deal with the Rangers, which will pay him $10 million per year over the next three seasons before rising to $11 million in 2017, the final year of the deal. But Texas also had to fork up $51.7 million as a posting fee just to earn the rights to negotiate with Darvish.
The Yankees, of course, didn't have to make such a commitment to negotiate with Tanaka, as changes in the posting system between MLB and NPB, Japan's top professional baseball league, capped any potential posting fees at $20 million. These changes allowed the Yankees to invest more money in Tanaka's contract, which will see him earn nearly $100 million more than Darvish.
Darvish also told MLB.com's TR Sullivan on Tuesday that the recent success of other Japanese pitchers such as Hiroki Kuroda, Hisashi Iwakuma and Darvish himself have certainly helped how scouts and MLB teams now view a player like Tanaka.
Whether Tanaka becomes a great signing for the Yankees or a bust is yet to be determined. Darvish has no doubt adjusted well to life in the majors after finishing with a 2.83 ERA and over three times as many strikeouts as walks in his second big league campaign.
Given his large contract and all the media attention devoted to Tanaka this offseason, there is little doubt that the 25-year-old right-hander will be under a lot of scrutiny once the season begins.