According to FoxSports' Jon Paul Morosi, the Texas Rangers feel pretty good about their chances of signing Yu Darvish.
The Associated Press reports that Nolan Ryan said he felt confident the team would sign Darvish before the deadline during the team's annual winter banquet.
Sponichi notes that the Rangers reportedly offer Darvish a six year deal worth about US$8.5M (or ~654M yen) while Darvish is pushing for a five year deal worth around US$15M (or ~1.15B yen).
"His abilities are just as good as the abilities we have here," Washington said. "The whole key, if we end up signing him, is for him just to be Yu Darvish. We’re not expecting him to put us on his shoulder. We’re not expecting him to do anything special."
"If you're able to throw strikes, pound the strike zone and get guys out, it doesn't matter what league you play in," Lewis said. "He has overpowering stuff, especially in that league. That was the big thing that stood out to me, his fastball command."
Sponichi mentions that two other Japanese players have been gifted western (cowboy) boots in the past. Koji Uehara received a pair from teammate Jamie Walker in 2009 and Kazuo Matsui was given a pair, plus a cowboy hat, from Drayton McLane in 2008.
The Rangers have until 1/18 at 5pm (or 1/19 at 7am) to finalize a deal with Darvish.
UPDATE @ 1:02pm - The Star Telegram's Jeff Wilson has posted the following update:
"My expectations are that we'll get something done," Ryan said. "It's a process. During the period that we negotiate with someone we really don't talk about it, but I'm optimistic we'll get something done."
Ryan is also anticipating that the negotiations will go down to the wire because "that's the nature of these things," he said. "We'll just have to see how it works."