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Masahiro Tanaka bidding begins on Thursday morning and will conclude by January 24

Dec 25, 2013, 5:15 PM EDT

masahiro tanaka team japan getty Getty Images

Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 183 strikeouts in 212 innings this past summer for the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball and was cleared on Tuesday evening to pursue his dream of pitching at the sport’s highest level: Major League Baseball. Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News lays out the details for the big-money bidding war that will play out in the weeks ahead:

The Cubs, Yankees, Angels and Diamondbacks are just a few of the teams that have expressed serious interest in the star 25-year-old right-hander. He could command more than $100 million in guaranteed money.

  1. uyf1950 - Dec 25, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Tanaka makes a decision before the January 24th deadline.

    • cackalackyank - Dec 25, 2013 at 8:49 PM

      I would presume he has been doing some research on the various clubs, and making contacts informally with other NPB players that have made the jump. I think this is a positive thing given the status of NYY relationships with Kuroda,(just signed a third contract), Matsui (just retired last year as a Yankee), and Ichiro.(Ichiro’s NYY future may, I think, in some small way be tied to Tanaka’s being signed.) Tanaka should be able to reduce what should be @12+ offers down to 2 or 3 in about 15 minutes or less.

      • davidbrentfan - Dec 25, 2013 at 10:43 PM

        “I think this is a positive thing given the status of NYY relationships with Kuroda,(just signed a third contract), Matsui (just retired last year as a Yankee), and Ichiro.”

        Haha, you’re talking about the Ichiro who put up a line of .262/.297/.342 / 15 2B / 3 3B / 7 HR / 20 SB with an OPS+ of 75 over the course of 520 At Bats last season? The guy was one of the worst everyday players in all of baseball last year- that’s really a great ‘relationship’. The Yankees have been trying hard to get rid of Suzuki this offseason, and rightfully so.

      • bendover09 - Dec 25, 2013 at 11:48 PM

        He is a better friends with Yu Darvish , so he must be coming here now from your logic …

      • 18thstreet - Dec 26, 2013 at 8:31 AM

        Makes sense to me. If I were coming from another country, I’d want to have a couple teammates who speak my language. It would definitely be a factor in my decision.

      • seanobi - Dec 26, 2013 at 9:40 AM

        Don’t count out the Chicago Cubs and Theo “It ain’t my money” Epstein. If anything he’s shown he’s not afraid to spend money on anybody (especially if it isn’t his).So I’m sure he will post a bid,but after the disaster that was Dice-K Matsuzaka all teams should be leary of bringing a pitcher over from Japan.It’s a different game over there.If you remember Dice-K was touted as the best pitcher in baseball and we all know (I’m from Boston) how that turned out….

      • anxovies - Dec 26, 2013 at 1:16 PM

        davidbrentfan: Do you know how stupid “HaHa” looks in print? It makes the readers think you are a crazed buffoon. Go to a couple of Yankee games, maybe you can acquire some class.

  2. tfbuckfutter - Dec 25, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    What’s a better deterrent to avoid all teams making the max bid whether they intend to sign the dude or not:

    All teams having to fork over their posting fee bid


    All teams bidding the maximum who don’t sign him having to pay $5,000,000 to the Japanese team posting him


  3. proudliberal85392 - Dec 25, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    uyf1950: Yep. And, a cup of coffee says it’s the Yankees, Dodgers, or BoSox. Why? Because they can.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 25, 2013 at 5:42 PM

      I’m not sure I see the Sox going all in on Tanaka for a couple of reasons.
      1st) over the past couple of years the Sox management have shown a real hesitation to exceed the tax threshold which signing Tanaka would do to the Sox.
      2nd) They have also expressed a reluctance to hand out lengthy contracts. I realize they just signed Pedroia to a 6 or 7 year deal. But I think that’s different in that they have a history with Pedroia.
      3rd) They have a pretty decent group of starters now. Sure Tanaka would be an improvement but a what cost.

      I can see the Dodgers but signing Tanaka would put their 2014 payroll for MLB luxury tax purposes including the tax itself at about $280MM +/-. Then after next season they have to re-sign Kershaw which is going to cost them a boatload of money. Probably something in the neighborhood of $30MM per. And they can not afford to let him go it would be a PR nightmare for them. I’m not saying that would stop them from going full bore after Tanaka but it might give them reason to think twice.

      I’m actually more concerned about the Angels then the the Dodgers of Red Sox. We’ll see.

      • spudchukar - Dec 25, 2013 at 6:22 PM

        Oh, I get it. Only the Yankees have either the cash or the “want to” to sign Tanaka.

        I have no idea who will wind up signing the Japanese phenom, but it certainly won’t be an exercise in futility for other teams if the Yankees put their mind to it. Those days are over. Way too much money in the game now for the New Yorkers to offer a blank check.

        I am sure the Cubs’ interest is real. The Dodgers are no more hamstrung by the luxury tax than the Yankees, and teams like the Mariners who have the “in” because their hurler Iwakuma mentored Tanaka have the revenue to play if they choose to.

        This ought to be a blast watching teams race to overpay. What a luxury it is to be a Cards’ fan and I don’t feel taxed in saying that.

      • autmorsautlibertas - Dec 25, 2013 at 8:32 PM

        I don’t see the Dodgers being contenders in this instance. They already have a pretty durned good rotation with Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, Haren, Beckett, and Billingsly. Maybe the Angels, but they have some bad contracts already and might be a bit timid. The Yankees NEED him and will chase hard. The Red Sox will be in just to drive up the price on the Yankees.

      • cackalackyank - Dec 25, 2013 at 8:41 PM

        uyf you are correct to be concerned about the Angels and Dodgers. Also, any other west coast team making a decent offer. It’s no secret he has been quoted as having a preference for the west coast.

  4. proudlycanadian - Dec 25, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    Unleash the hounds, or something to that effect.

  5. pastabelly - Dec 25, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    The Red Sox won’t even post. They would rather extend Lester. .

  6. seniorboy - Dec 25, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Ned, Magic et al, get out the checkbook and get this guy before he comes back to haunt you from Arizona. 24-0 whoa, get this guy, make sure Clayton is around forever, and you have the best starting four n baseball.
    this should be interesting. Glad Brian is back in the fold as he is gutty and loves the challenge and is
    rarely not up to the task. With two Cubans aboard who can fly, maybe Mattingly will bunt more often, get his runners to second and then let them score on base hits. Mattingly is certainly no tactician, he gets out coached and out managed most every game. The outfield with four guys is superbly set for the new season. good

    • cackalackyank - Dec 25, 2013 at 8:54 PM

      You do understand that the 24-0 was against NPB talent not MLB talent on an MLB schedule. Darvish has done very well but some NPB talent breaks down in MLB. I’m not saying he is going to suck…but don’t just assume he is going to be lights out like he was in Japan.

      • seanobi - Dec 26, 2013 at 9:43 AM

        Remember Dice-K Matsuzaka??? wasn’t he touted as a super talent? a world talent? We all know how that ended!!!

  7. andreweac - Dec 25, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Maybe more than $100,000,000.00? Unless there is an injury that pops up in the medical report he is undoubtably getting more than $100,000,000.00.

  8. keltictim - Dec 25, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Seen this story before. The Red Sox signed a Japanese phenom named dice-k with some screwy gyro pitch. Six learned their lesson.

    • davidbrentfan - Dec 25, 2013 at 10:36 PM

      I know. I guess Tanaka is yet another ‘can’t miss’ japanese player.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 26, 2013 at 8:33 AM

        Or maybe he’s Yu Darvish. Or maybe he’s his own person, who ought to be judged on his own merits.

    • patfromwayback - Dec 26, 2013 at 1:45 AM

      Can’t see Sox doing THAT again!!

    • seanobi - Dec 26, 2013 at 9:49 AM

      If you remember Dice-K came to the Red Sox and went 18-5 his 1st season and the Sox were looking like the smartest team in the room,then came the adjustment to playing in a REAL league and that didn’t o so well..Were is he now? Oh ya in Cleveland’s minor league system saying to himself ” What the fruck”

    • pastabelly - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      Masuzaka helped the Red Sox win WS in 2007 and won 19 games that season. Let’s not pretend that signing was worthless. It was a bad contract, but if that’s what it took to get the second WS in 90 years, I can’t get all worked up over it.

      • seanobi - Dec 26, 2013 at 9:29 PM

        It was a bad signing!! Maybe if they didn’t screw with his routine and mechanics he would have been better than sub-par..

  9. keltictim - Dec 25, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Oh yea and merry Christmas everybody

  10. raynman49 - Dec 25, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Yankmees. Book it!

  11. uyf1950 - Dec 25, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    It’s now being reported that Tanaka will be represented by Casey Close of Excel Sports Management. Among others Close represents Kershaw, Greinke, Jeter and Teixeira.

    • cackalackyank - Dec 25, 2013 at 8:55 PM

      Interesting…two Yankees…two Dodgers.

  12. twothousandman79 - Dec 25, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    He’ll be a RANGER…

    • autmorsautlibertas - Dec 25, 2013 at 8:33 PM

      Fat chance

      • bendover09 - Dec 25, 2013 at 11:51 PM

        Why? The rangers payroll is only 120ish million right now. They could easily go after him if they wanted.. before they signed Prince & Choo the payroll was 84.. fat chance may turn into a very likely chance. JD never tells what he is doing

      • autmorsautlibertas - Dec 26, 2013 at 9:39 AM

        The Rangers have a pretty good infield right now. Fielder’s numbers seemed to show a bit of slippage last year and he is a defensive liability, but he is still pretty good. To me, if the Rangers are going to spend more money, they would be better served by upgrading their outfield. They need some power. Moreland does not get on base and does not seem to put power numbers that you would expect out of a DH. Their rotation looks pretty good on paper already. They need bats more than they need arms.

  13. stevedubs11 - Dec 25, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    I a free with spudchuker. How sweet it is to be a confident Cardinals fan and watch teams overpay.

    • pastabelly - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      You have pitching and only have to overpay for a crappy shotstop.

  14. sidelineshot - Dec 25, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Runner-up team gets to sign Daisuke Matsuzaka of the scrap heap and watch him hit the 100-pitch mark by the 4th inning. LOL

  15. sjhaack - Dec 25, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    “So far, only the 15 American and 15 National league teams have expressed interest in Tanaka”

    • davidbrentfan - Dec 25, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      Not every team is going to want to invest $100+ million in a guy who has only excelled while facing inferior competition (japanese baseball).

      • japachu - Dec 26, 2013 at 10:04 AM

        ??? Team’s invest a lot of money in players from Triple A or College and those are considered inferior to NPB. All scouts and team consider NPB to be Quadruple A. So I won’t go throwing that around that around too much. I’d rather invest in someone who is sucessfull at the NPB level than a kid from college ball or Triple/Double A ball.

  16. ndnut - Dec 25, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    The Twins have been saving their Target Field revenue for this!!! What? A boy can dream, can’t he?

    • dluxxx - Dec 26, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      Actually, I’m seeing that they’re a player in this game. It’s yet to be seen if they’re doing it for PR or if they’re for real, but they certainly have the money to spend…

  17. braxtonrob - Dec 26, 2013 at 3:46 AM

    Texas will sign him; our GM is crazy (and liquid) enough.

  18. uyf1950 - Dec 26, 2013 at 5:54 AM

    Well it’s Thursday now and has been for the last few hours here on the East Coast. If the reports are to be believed and I think finally they are. Today is the day Masahiro Tanaka finally gets posted. Let the madness begin.

  19. markofapro - Dec 26, 2013 at 6:45 AM

    Could be an Astro

  20. 18thstreet - Dec 26, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    Wouldn’t every team be willing to put up a $20 million fee that they might never have to pay? Why wouldn’t the Twins and Astros and Orioles, etc., post the fee and hope for the best? In the worst case scenario, the winning team doesn’t agree to a contract and they keep Tanaka away from the other 29 teams.

    Who gets to decide which of the 30 $20 million bids gets to negotiate? I assume it’s the player. And I think none of us have any idea what appeals to Tanaka. It’s possible — isn’t it? — that everything he knows about NYC makes him think he’d hate it there. Maybe he wants to place with direct and shorter flights to and from Japan, which would give a leg up to West Coast cities and (I believe) Minneapolis, which has an airline hub for international travel.

    Honestly, no one knows what happens from here. I’m going to save my breath until it’s over.

  21. bunkerhillbob - Dec 26, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    For those who are new to following MLB, here’s the translation: Mr. Tanaka will be wearing the NYY uniform by next month. Bet your kid’s college fund on it.

    • cackalackyank - Dec 26, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      Yes, I think Cliff Lee has been a real asset to the NYY rotation, too.

      • bunkerhillbob - Dec 27, 2013 at 8:05 AM

        Is this supposed to mean something?

      • cackalackyank - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        Yes, it’s called sarcasm.

  22. phillysports1 - Dec 26, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    I can see the phillies trading cliff lee to get this guy ..

    • uyf1950 - Dec 26, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Cliff Lee is owed over $77MM for the next 3 years, assuming his 2016 vesting option vest. Cliff Lee is a great pitcher but he is also 35 year old and will turn 36 in August 2014. Without the Phillies eating a pretty big chuck of that they won’t get much in the way of a return. And if they have to eat a lot of his salary that defeats the purpose of trading him to free up money to sign Tanaka.

      Just food for thought but if you own a team rather then pick up a 36 year old Lee via a trade and pay his remaining salary of about $77MM wouldn’t you rather roll the dice on a 25 year old “phenom” for the next 6 years at only about $35 to $40MM more in total.

  23. drgums - Dec 29, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    Go Yankees

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