Masahiro Tanaka Beginning His Tour Around The Big Leagues
Masahiro Tanaka is now in America gearing up for his tour around Major League Baseball. As the biggest free-agent on the market, every team would like to get their chance to throw large amounts of cash at him.
The latest reports have Tanaka in Los Angeles right now to meet with the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox this week. Apparently the weather in Chicago right now wasn’t to the liking of Tanaka, so he decided to talk with the interested teams in the always sunny LA.
Speaking of LA, the Los Angeles Dodgers have already been in contact with Tanaka’s agent, Casey Close, who also represents Dodgers pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. The Dodgers have an endless amount of money, as it seems, and they really like Tanaka, making them one of the front-runners to possibly land him. Even though they might not need him as much as some of the other teams interested you can never have too many star pitchers, right?
Either way, both the Dodgers and Cubs can be considered among the front-runners with the White Six and Angels also interested in his services.
The Texas Rangers were said to be in the running, but after Texas signed Shin-Soo Choo to a seven-year, $130 million deal, they might not be out on him.
Among those considered heavy favorites, the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners could be two of the teams that the bidding comes down to. The Mariners are still trying to convince ownership to allow them to spend more money to acquire Tanaka. If that happens, Robinson Cano might not be the only player stolen from the Yankees.
Over in the Bronx, the Yankees probably need him more than any other team. Being just 25, he’d be their best young player at a time when the farm system isn’t producing any Major League talent. Also, after spending nearly $300 million on Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, the Yankees still need to add a starting pitcher in order to be a World Series contender and Tanaka is the only top free-agent starter they like.
ESPNNewYork.com reported the other day that the Yankees have not made any meaningful contact yet with Tanaka’s agent, but a source told the site that that is expected to change very soon. No surprise there. I’ve had the Yankees landing him all along.
The Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros have all been rumored suitors too. If any of those teams were to surprise everyone and make a big bid for the Japanese right-hander I’d guess it would be the Jays, who are in need of a starter and still need to make a big move this winter.
Tanaka has until January 24th to sign with a team before having to go back to the Rakuten Golden Eagles and Close is known for dragging out negotiations. It wouldn’t be surprising if he waits until the very last hour to sign the expected contract of upwards of $100 million over at least six years.
The clock is ticking and Tanaka has just two weeks left to sign with the team of his choosing. He may have been officially posted in December, but this competition is just getting started.