Rangers sign Japanese pitcher Kohei Arihara to $6M contract

Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers have signed Japanese pitcher Kohei Arihara to a $6 million, two-year contract.

The right-hander spent six years with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball. The Rangers paid a $1.2 million posting fee for Arihara, who can earn $50,000 in performance bonuses each year.

The 28-year-old Arihara was 8-9 with a 3.46 ERA in 20 starts for Hokkaido during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season in Japan. He led the Pacific League with three complete games and was second in innings with 132 2/3.

“The addition of Kohei Arihara strengthens the depth in our starting rotation,” Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said. “He has had success in Japan over the last six years with a breakout season in 2019.”

Arihara, the Pacific League’s rookie of the year in 2015, had a career-high 15 wins in 2019, tied for the overall lead in Japan, and was second in ERA at 2.46 in 24 starts. He is 60-50 with a 3.74 ERA in 129 career appearances, including 125 starts.

Arihara would become the eighth native of Japan to appear in a regular-season game for the Rangers. Yu Darvish (2012-17) and Yoshinori Tateyama (2011-12) also pitched for Hokkaido before joining the Rangers.

“I will continue to work hard in order for me to grow and succeed in this city,” Arihara said in a statement released by the Rangers on Saturday. “To lead into this, I will make sure to have a good offseason so that I can head into spring training in top condition.”

The Rangers made room for Arihara on the 40-man roster by designating right-hander Art Warren for assignment.

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