The Rangers paid nearly $52 million to acquire the rights to negotiate with Darvish, who went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA and 276 strikeouts in Japan last season. Assuming Texas can agree to a contract with the 25-year-old Nippon Ham Fighters right-hander, Darvish will become the latest highly touted import hoping to carry over his success in Nippon Pro Baseball to MLB. It has been 16 years since Hideo Nomo debuted in the major leagues, touching off the first generation of players who wanted to leave NPB for the majors. Forty-three players have followed Nomo's route. Only three have been named to more than one All-Star team (Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui and Kaz Sasaski) and only 11 are active big leaguers.