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Yu Darvish, Padres Finalize a Lucrative Six-Year Contract

The $108 million deal locks up Yu Darvish, who reached the 3,000-career strikeout milestone last year, with the Padres through 2028, when he'll turn 42.

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Yu Darvish fires a pitch to a Philadelphia Phillies batter in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series on October 18, 2022, in San Diego. (Gregory Bull/AP)

Yu Darvish was set to become a free agent after the 2023 MLB season.

That changed on Thursday, February 9 when Darvish and the San Diego Padres finalized a five-year, $90 million USD (¥11.85 billion JPY) contract extension. In total, he’s now owed $108 million USD (¥14.2 billion JPY) from the Padres.

In essence, five years were tacked on to the final year of his existing contract. He will make $18 million USD (¥2.37 billion JPY) this season.

Darvish, 36, is entering his third season with the National League West club. A five-time All-Star, he matched his MLB career-high with 16 wins in 2022. He finished with a 16-8 record, a 3.10 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 194⅔ innings. In the playoffs, Darvish posted a 2-1 record.

In September 2022, the hard-throwing right-hander became the second Japanese pitcher to reach the combined 3,000-career strikeout milestone for NPB and MLB after Hideo Nomo. Darvish made his MLB debut in 2012, when he won 16 games with the Texas Rangers after establishing himself as a star with the Hokkaido Nipponham Fighters. In the majors, Darvish has a 95-75 record with a 3.50 ERA and 1,788 strikeouts in 1,488 innings.

The Philadelphia Phillies eliminated the Padres in the NL Championship Series before falling to the Houston Astros in the World Series.

As the Padres seek to reach the next level in 2023, San Diego general manager AJ Preller has given lavish contracts to Darvish, former Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts ($280 million USD, or about ¥36.9 billion JPY, for 11 years) and incumbent starter Joe Musgrove ($100 million USD, or ¥13.17 billion JPY, for five seasons).

Long-Awaited Return to the WBC

Darvish, who is set to play for Japan at the 2023 World Baseball Classic, last pitched in the WBC in the 2009 edition.

Japan captured the inaugural title in 2006. Three years later, Darvish was the winning pitcher in Japan's 4-0 tournament-opening win over China at Tokyo Dome. He pitched the ninth and 10th innings in relief in Japan's 5-3 victory over South Korea in the championship game at Dodger Stadium.

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Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven

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