Arihara, 28, has spent the past six seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball. In 836 career innings at the highest level in Japan, Arihara has compiled a 3.74 ERA with 6.7 K / 9 versus 2.1 BB / 9. He’s been particularly productive over the past two years. Arihara posted a tiny 2.46 ERA with a career-best 8.8K / 9 in 2019. Last season, he scored 3.46 with 7.2K / 9 in 132.2 innings.
On the heels of Arihara’s 2019 peak season, Baseball America’s Jason Coskrey noted that the right-hander works in the low-90s and relies primarily on his fastball, shift, and slider. Arihara has up to seven different slots in his arsenal, however, and Coskrey notes he’s adept at using his secondaries to keep opposing hitters off balance. He also has a long history of strike throwing, not having completed more than 2.2 marches per nine innings in any of his last five seasons with the NPB.
Arihara is not known for its particularly potent raw materials, and this is confirmed by its relatively low shrinkage rates. Shun Yamaguchi, who signed a similar contract with the Blue Jays last offseason, has consistently posted higher strikeout totals during his time at the NPB than Arihara. Tomoyuki Sugano too, the top NPB starter available to MLB teams via the display system this winter. This could suggest that Arihara is more suited for the back end of the rotation, although he believes he has a decent opportunity for the innings in Texas.
Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles will likely try to bounce back from gloomy 2020 seasons. Dane Dunning is sure to get a rotating job after returning from the White Sox in Lance Lynn. Trade. There is, however, a lot of uncertainty beyond (and even with) this trio. Kolby Allard was knocked down last season and failed to establish himself as a league starter. Kyle Cody, who has never made the sixth inning, was the only other player still on the list to start more than two games for Texas last season.
In addition to Arihara’s salary, the Rangers will owe the Fighters a release fee under the terms of the MLB-NPB posting system. The fighters will receive a sum equal to 20% of the contract value. According to the specific conditions of the contract, the posting costs would be in the order of $ 1.2 million to $ 1.4 million. Texas’ total spend is around $ 7.5 million, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter).
The Red Sox and Padres were would have been the other finalists in the tender for Arihara, whose display window was due to expire tomorrow. San Diego and Boston will now have to look elsewhere in their quest for additional rotational depth.