According to Hochi Sports, Masahiro Tanaka has narrowed his decision down to three teams: the Dodgers, Angels, and Yankees. Yesterday, Tanaka returned to Japan as he was too tired to stop and speak with reporters at Narita airport in Tokyo.
Tanaka had visited with up to ten teams during his recent trip the United States and the buzz is that the Los Angeles teams, Cubs, and Yankees are the most eager to get a deal done.
Hochi Sports recently reported more than once that Tanaka would not be posted, but that ended up being far from the truth. I would take their report “with a grain of salt” as Dylan Hernandez ofthe L.A. Times said about this recent report.
With the late posting, the 25 year-old right-hander has halted the market creating a virtual hold on any other starting pitchers signing. When Tanaka becomes unavailable, the demand for pitching will emerge as a desperate need for a handful of clubs.
Bob Nightengale reported on Friday, the Dodgers would go “all out” for the Japanese pitcher while saying they will “certainly not be outbid.” The Dodgers have shown they do not have a budget when trying to win a World Series and why will they stop now?
The Yankees, after Alex Rodriguez’s suspension of the entire 2014 season, will save over $25 million in salary relief and are believed to be one of the most aggressive teams in on Tanaka. With essentially one rotation spot open, it would be no surprise that they would offer a pleasurable deal to Tanaka. According to Anthony McCarron of NewYork Daily News, the Yankees had a meeting with Tanaka, but no details were discussed.
With the subtraction of Jason Vargas, the Angels have emerged as a club that is willing to go into nine figures to bring the right-hander to Anaheim. Although, they have been handing out questionable contracts every offseason, the front office seems to increase their budget every year in order to compete for the American League West.
Tanaka, the 25-year-old who was 24-0 for the Rakuten Golden Eagles last season, underwent a physical exam in Los Angeles, according to reports last week. There has been concern about Tanaka’s workload in Japan, especially considering that the team that signs him will have to pay Rakuten a $20 million posting fee, as well as give the pitcher a contract which likely will mount over $100 million.