The New York Yankees became the first team to officially reach out to Japanese superstar pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka is the highest sought after pitcher in play right now and is expected to be chased by the Los Angeles Dodgers, The Texas Rangers, The Boston Red Sox, The Baltimore Orioles, The Seattle Mariners, The Chicago Cubs, The San Francisco Giants and possibly a few more.
There was a question whether Masahiro Tanaka, who posted a 24-0 record last season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific Leaque, would even make it into the mix for this year as Japan was updating their posting rules for eligible players. Before the change teams would bid blindly and the highest bidder would win the right to negotiate with the player, the bidding fee going to the team that posted him. The rules now say that any team may negotiate with Masahiro Tanaka as long as they pay the Golden Eagles $20 million dollars if they sign him.
The Yankees have held discussions with Casey Close of Excel Sports Management. Close is representing Masahiro Tanaka in his negotiations. Close also represents Yankee captain Derek Jeter.
The Yankees have made no secret that they consider Masahiro Tanaka to be their highest priority in this off season. This is saying quite a bit for a team that just committed more than $300 million dollars for Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran.
Masahiro Tanaka is expected to fetch more than $100 million dollars to come stateside. The Yankees were originally trying to keep payroll below $189 million dollars to avoid getting hammered with luxury tax fines, but owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner have made it clear that that ceiling will not be reached at the expense of a World Series caliber team.
Do you think the New York Yankees will land Masihiro Tanaka?