The Texas Rangers announced over the weekend that they’ve signed Japanese pitcher Kohei Arihara. The 28-year-old player joins from NPB’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters and has inked a two-year deal to play in the MLB.
Hokkaido made Arihara available to MLB teams last month, giving the player 30 days to get a deal done. Several teams reportedly had an interest in the right-hander, including the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox, but the Rangers ended up making the best offer.
Reportedly, Arihara will earn between $6 million and $7 million in the next two years.
“I will continue to work hard in order for me to grow and succeed in this city,” said Arihara after the deal was made official. “To lead into this, I will make sure to have a good offseason so that I can head into spring training in top condition.”
Kohei Arihara made his NPB debut in 2015 and went on to win the Pacific League Rookie of the Year award. He has a career 60–50 record with 3.74 ERA and 626 strikeouts.
Arihara was especially productive last year when he had a 15 -8 record in 24 starts while posting a 2.46 ERA and 106 strikeouts.
“The addition of Kohei Arihara strengthens the depth in our starting rotation,” said Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels. “He has had success in Japan over the last six years with a breakout season in 2019.”
Arihara is expected to be the Rangers’ third pitcher in the rotation next season, with Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles slotted in front of him.