Rangers sign free-agent pitcher Kohei Arihara to two-year contract

Nippon Ham Fighters starter Kohei Arihara pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of their preseason exhibition baseball game. (Toru Takahashi/AP)

The Texas Rangers have signed free-agent pitcher Kohei Arihara to a two-year contract, the team announced Saturday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the Rangers. On Friday night, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the deal would be in the $6-7 million range. The Rangers will have to pay a posting fee to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, Arihara's former team in Japan.

Arihara, 28, previously spent six years in Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League (JPL). He went 8-9 and posted a 3.46 ERA in 20 starts for Hokkaido during the abbreviated 2020 season, leading the Pacific League with three complete games. Arihara also ranked second in innings (132.2), third in ERA and tied for seventh in wins among the JPL leaders.

In his NPB career, Arihara is 60-50 with a 3.74 ERA in 129 games and has a .257/.305/.392 opponents line. The 28-year-old was also the Pacific League’s Rookie of the Year in 2015.

"I am extremely grateful for the Rangers who gave me an opportunity to play in Major League Baseball," Arihara said in a statement. "I will continue to work hard in order for me to grow and succeed in this city... I am truly excited to be able to pitch in front of the Rangers fans at Globe Life Field, and I hope that you will all support me in my journey."

In a corresponding move, the Rangers designated right-handed pitcher Art Warren for assignment.

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