Derek Holland and Yu.

Derek Holland narrowly missed qualifying for arbitration this winter, falling a couple weeks short.  It sounds like Texas would like to make sure he never qualifies.

A couple hours after our book release party ended tonight, with Holland accommodating every autograph request and posing for every photo and answering every fan question, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweeted that, according to sources, the Rangers were working on a five-year contract with the lefthander, a deal that would cover 2012, his three arbitration seasons of 2013-2015, and his first year of free agency in 2016.

Holland has been to three or four of our parties, and in some ways he’s changed dramatically (his physical appearance, for one), other ways not at all.  He’s still got that solid mix of an unshakable confidence and a stern refusal to be satisfied or overly impressed with where his game is.  It might not be as important a combination as a mid-90s fastball and wipeout slider, but it’s part of what can make a very good pitcher a great one, and I love where Holland’s career is headed.  The Rangers, evidently prepared to extend the 25-year-old the same type of early commitment that they’ve given hitters like Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, and Hank Blalock, obviously do as well.

Holland and Scott Coolbaugh were really great – big thanks to John Blake and Taunee Taylor for arranging for them to join us – and I really appreciate the hundreds of you who came out to Sherlock’s despite the lousy weather.  Nice job filling up those Cowboy Santa’s boxes with toys, too.

We don’t yet know who submitted the high posting bid on Yu Darvish this afternoon, but odds are it will leak before Tuesday’s official announcement.

According to Jim Bowden of ESPN/XM, minutes ago, Texas was one of four teams to bid, joining the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Cubs, though it’s unclear whether his list is meant to be conclusive, or whether other clubs like Washington and perhaps Seattle could be involved as well.  Bowden believes MLB will announce in the morning which team’s bid prevailed.

By time you’re reading this, then, we may know whether Texas is that team, in which case it will have 30 days from Tuesday (or from whenever Nippon Ham accepts the bid, I suppose, if the Fighters don’t wait until Tuesday) to hammer out an agreement with Darvish to pitch for Texas for a bunch of years, and a lot of money.

But there’s another 25-year-old pitcher that the Rangers have apparently already started that process with, a pitcher who’s accomplished far more in the Major Leagues than Yu Darvish has but who you get the sense will never act like it, not now and not in the spring and not five years from now – regardless of what happens between now and then.

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