Skip to content

Rakuten Golden Eagles will allow Masahiro Tanaka to make the jump to MLB

Dec 24, 2013, 6:25 PM EDT

masahiro tanaka getty japan Getty Images

Some breaking baseball news this Christmas Eve.

Via the translating skills of the Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez, Sponichi in Japan is reporting that the Rakuten Golden Eagles have decided to go through with posting right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, allowing him to depart for Major League Baseball.

Rakuten had second thoughts about allowing Tanaka to leave after a new set of posting system rules were instituted this offseason that put a $20 million cap on posting fees. But the 25-year-old Tanaka had already stated a strong desire to jump to baseball’s highest (and richest) level of competition and Rakuten’s higher-ups have ultimately decided not to block his path. Tanaka could have left without permission after the 2015 season, so the clock was ticking anyway.

Tanaka, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 183/32 K/BB ratio in 212 innings (27 starts) this past summer in Nippon Professional Baseball, is expected to command a major league contract worth more than $100 million through the new posting system — which gives much more freedom and opportunity to Japanese players.

To earn the right to bid on Tanaka, a big league team must only commit a totally-refundable $20 million posting fee. There will then be a bidding war, and some of the wealthiest organizations in the sport are expected to get involved. The clubs that lose out on him will have their $20 million fee returned in full.

For reference, the Rangers paid a $51.7 million posting fee in December 2011 for the right to negotiate exclusively with Yu Darvish and then inked the right-hander to a six-year, $56 million major league deal.

UPDATE (1:20 a.m.): Rakuten Eagles president Yozo Tachibana confirmed Tanaka will be made available.

  1. andreweac - Dec 25, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    Rumor has it Boras is locked in as his agent.

  2. khmerson562 - Dec 25, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    Kershaw-price-greinke-tanaka and ryu not bad

  3. bigguy54 - Dec 25, 2013 at 3:32 AM

    Tanaka was teammates with Iwakuma who was his mentor when he started, he will be the #3 for the mariners moving up to the 2 in a few years when Kuma is done. The biggest reason I want the M’s to sign him is 5I hear the Yankee fans whine because they think they deserve him and are the only team he will go to. I have news for you, not everyone wants to be a Yankee. The M’s are moving up to be competitive and this is the next step.

    • jjrn1248 - Dec 25, 2013 at 6:21 AM

      I am a Yankee fan and have never whined or felt the Yankees deserved any player. The Yankees get the players they want there for no need to whine. Also they have 27 world championships so no need to whine there. Cano got greedy and probably ruined the Mariners hopes of contending for a Championship. The Mariners don’t have the money it is going to take to make Tanaka a number 3 starter. He will demand number 1 starter money and there are less than 10 teams in baseball with the kind of money it will take to sign Tanaka. The Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Red Sox, Cubs, Tigers, Rangers, Angels, and Phillies are the only ones who can sign him without having to make a deal to dump salary. I don’t even know where the starting price will begin or even how many years but it will probably be around $20 million per year minimum 5 years. This guy is not a sure thing most of the big name free agents from Japan don’t live up to the hype. The team that signs him will have to have money to throw away in case he doesn’t live up to his potential. That would leave the Yankees, Dodgers Angels and Red Sox. The Dodgers, Angels and Red Sox already have 2 capable starters. The Yankees don/t know what they are going to get out of CC and they know Kuroda is capable but is getting old and can’t be counted on late in the season. Nova had a decent year last season but should be considered a number 4 started until he proves to be consistent. I can see the Yankees out biding everyone for Tanaka because in a couple years a rotation of Tanaka, Nova and Pineda could be very good if Pineda ever get back on the mound.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 25, 2013 at 6:26 AM

      I was going to reply at some length to some of the points you raised in your post.
      Comments like: “…. not everyone wants to be a Yankee”. AND especially “The M’s are moving up to be competitive and this is the next step.”
      Then I started to laugh and couldn’t stop laughing. Have a good day and enjoy Cano for the next 10 years.

      • spudchukar - Dec 25, 2013 at 9:52 AM

        If the Mariners sign Tanaka, and trade for Price they will win more games in 2014 than the Yankees. Anybody who believes the Mariners do not have the cash to land Tanaka is fooling themselves. I have no idea if they will choose to do that, looks like Tanaka is going to fetch something near 130 million and teams will have to decide if they believe he is worth it.

        From all I hear the Cubs are going to go all in, and the Dodgers may make a play too. He could still wear pinstripes, and the Yankees have to improve their pitching or they are merely a .500 club, and spending an awful lot of cash to be one, so it should be interesting.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 25, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        @ spudchukar, I was going to reply at some length to some of the you points raised in your reply. But since they (Mariners) have yet to do any of the things you mention including increasing their teams payroll substantially year over year. It doesn’t seem worth the time or effort.

        I will merely say that I understand fans desire to root and pull for the underdog (Mariners) but sometimes you just have to face reality there is a reason they are the underdog, They just aren’t very good.

        Have a Happy and Safe Holiday

      • spudchukar - Dec 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        The Mariners haven’t been very good lately, but then the Yankees only have one WS flag to fly in the past ten years, and for a luxury tax team that is pathetic.

        But just to remind you on this most festive of days, “Here’s the 2-2 pitch to Martinez, as Griffey, leads away from first, swung on, and there is a line drive down the third base line, FAIR BALL, into the corner, Griffey rounds second, heads for third, the Yankee left fielder plays the carom off the wall, and HERE COMES Griffey, he is going to try and score, and the throw to the plate is too late. THE MARINERS HAVE DEFEATED THE YANKEES and are heading to the American League championship, as Griffey and Martinez are swarmed by their teammates and the Yankee team looks in shock as they depart the Kingdome, losers to the Seattle Mariners.

        Just thought I would remind you, of this team that isn’t very good during the Holliday Season.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 25, 2013 at 2:36 PM

        Bravo my friend you have managed to cherry pick dates that suit you need.

        Since you were kind enough to point out what obviously was one of the very, very few highlights in the Mariners 36 year history against the Yankees let me point out one that may not bring out such fond memories for Mariners fans.

        Remember the Mariners 2001 record tying regular season for wins? They won 116 games that season ONLY to be embarrassed by the Yankees in the ALCS when the Yankees took 4 of the 5 games.

        Unfortunately the Yankees did lose the WS that year 4 games to 3 on a bloop single. But such is life, you can’t win them all. Even if the Yankees have won 5 World Series Titles and played in a combined 7 World Series in the last 18 years. See we all can cherry pick dates, my friend. BTW, I’ll take that “pathetic” record as you put it every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

        You can have the last word because I think we’ve beat this horse to death. I’m done on this topic.

      • spudchukar - Dec 25, 2013 at 2:52 PM

        I would tuck my tail between my legs and run away too were I a Yankee fan knowing that I had only procured one title in ten years while outspending other franchise at astronomical rates. By the way the Cards are starting to catch up to the Yankees, and as someone once said, “Don’t look back, somebody might be gaining on you”.

      • braxtonrob - Dec 26, 2013 at 3:40 AM

        Cano is one of the greatest 2B’man of all time, and NY is going to look REAL stupid for letting him go, within the coming years.

        Only a non-baseball, band-wagoning New York resident doesn’t know this.

  4. jjrn1248 - Dec 25, 2013 at 6:22 AM

    I am a Yankee fan and have never whined or felt the Yankees deserved any player. The Yankees get the players they want there for no need to whine. Also they have 27 world championships so no need to whine there. Cano got greedy and probably ruined the Mariners hopes of contending for a Championship. The Mariners don’t have the money it is going to take to make Tanaka a number 3 starter. He will demand number 1 starter money and there are less than 10 teams in baseball with the kind of money it will take to sign Tanaka. The Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Red Sox, Cubs, Tigers, Rangers, Angels, and Phillies are the only ones who can sign him without having to make a deal to dump salary. I don’t even know where the starting price will begin or even how many years but it will probably be around $20 million per year minimum 5 years. This guy is not a sure thing most of the big name free agents from Japan don’t live up to the hype. The team that signs him will have to have money to throw away in case he doesn’t live up to his potential. That would leave the Yankees, Dodgers Angels and Red Sox. The Dodgers, Angels and Red Sox already have 2 capable starters. The Yankees don/t know what they are going to get out of CC and they know Kuroda is capable but is getting old and can’t be counted on late in the season. Nova had a decent year last season but should be considered a number 4 started until he proves to be consistent. I can see the Yankees out biding everyone for Tanaka because in a couple years a rotation of Tanaka, Nova and Pineda could be very good if Pineda ever get back on the mound.

  5. markofapro - Dec 25, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    Rangers will not sign him.

  6. pastabelly - Dec 25, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Sounds like a done deal with the Yankees. Their pitching sucks. They need him. They have the money.

    • cackalackyank - Dec 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      I am a Yankee fan and I tend to disagree. It is more than a mere rumor that Tanaka likes the west coast. If the Dodgers and/or Angels or Seattle offer even close to what the Yankees offer, he will not be a Yankee. The Yankees will have to offer MUCH more $ than the LA clubs, which is not guaranteed the way it once was.

      • spudchukar - Dec 25, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        If you keep making honest assessments like this you are going to be shunned, or black-balled or defrocked or something by your NY peers.

      • cackalackyank - Dec 25, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        I am a fan and a realist. Winning off seasons doesn’t really count. And I frequently get a ***t load of thumbs down. Why just yesterday in the height of the holiday spirit I had the audacity to question whether our 1B will be healthy and produce. yep.

  7. bostonboresme - Dec 25, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    IF the M’s get Tanaka, IF the M’s get Price…two big iffs. Even so, Seattle can’t hit a lick, still a 75-80 win team. Even with that $240,000,000 at second base.

  8. leylandshospicenurse - Dec 25, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Yankee fans are like Alabama fans. They feel like they’re entitled to any player they want and brag about how many championships they won like it is at all relevant in 2014.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      Alabama fans wish they had the history that the Yankees do.

  9. cramdog - Dec 25, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Past performance and future results could be entirely different. Nobody knows for sure. It will be interesting.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Who are the favorites for Rookie of the Year?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Soler (3667)
  2. Y. Molina (3268)
  3. R. Castillo (2921)
  4. B. Posey (2126)
  5. D. Murphy (2089)
  1. D. Wright (2073)
  2. B. Colon (1978)
  3. M. Wacha (1935)
  4. A. Rizzo (1877)
  5. E. O'Flaherty (1791)