Rangers sign promising Japanese pitcher Kohei Arihara

The Rangers continued to improve this offseason by adding Kohei Arihara.

The Texas Rangers appeared destined for a rebuild after trading Lance Lynn away to the Chicago White Sox for a package headlined by Dane Dunning, but the addition of David Dahl and Nate Lowe goes to show the Rangers don’t want to compete for the No. 1 pick in 2021. Sensing a need to upgrade their rotation, Texas managed to secure the signature of one of the best international free agents available in Japanese pitcher Kohei Arihara.

Arihara, who was posted just under a month ago, officially agreed to a deal with the Rangers, choosing them over the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres.

Kohei Arihara has been one of the most underrated pitchers in Japan over the last few years

Arihara, who starred with former Rangers ace Yu Darvish’s old squad in the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, had compiled a 3.65 ERA in six seasons as a professional. Those numbers might look ordinary, but his 2.91 ERA over the last two seasons, including a 2.46 ERA in 2019, shows that he is starting to assert himself as a stud.

Arihara, like Darvish, prides himself on using a variety of pitches. His two main pitchers are a four-seamer and two-seamer that sit in the low 90s, with a nasty splitter serving as his strikeout pitch. Arihara will also mix in a slider, cutter, changeup, and curveball, though most of those pitches are used exclusively against left-handed batters.

After perhaps getting a good word from Darvish and seeing the improvements Texas has made over the last few weeks, Arihara decided that joining GM Chris Young’s roster was the best move for him at this point in his career. The Rangers could be a team worth keeping an eye on in the AL West, provided Arihara asserts himself as a big-league starter during his first season in America.

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