Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka of Nippon Professional Baseball (Japan) is one of the top free-agent arms Major League Baseball teams will look to sign but teams may have to wait another season to place a bid on the 24-game winner, according to FOX Sports.
Major League Baseball is withdrawing its proposal for a new bidding system with Japan, making it uncertain whether prized pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will be on the market this offseason.
MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred said Japanese officials had not acted quickly enough on MLB’s proposal for a new agreement and that a new proposal will be forwarded.
“We warned them, told them if this sat too long, there could be shifting winds out there, and suffice it to say there are shifting winds,” Manfred said.
The current posting system was established after the 1998 season and requires MLB clubs to submit anonymous bids to players. The highest bidder is then awarded 30 days to reach an agreement with the player. The bids do not include the players’ contracts with their new team.
Most recently the Texas Rangers placed a $51.7 million bid for Yu Darvish from the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters before the 2012 season.
“I think the concerns with the system was it was a blind bidding process that led to inflated numbers,” Manfred said, “and that those inflated numbers make that market unavailable to a broad cross-section of our teams.
If that’s the way we get Japanese professionals, I think that the 30 major league clubs are prepared to live with that result,” Manfred said.
Tanaka, 25, went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA during the regular season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles and he represented Japan in the 2013 World Baseball Classic with one start and three relief appearances. He allowed 10 hits and two earned runs with 12 strikeouts and no walks over seven innings.
The 6-foot-2, 205 pound Tanaka throws a low-90s fastball and two secondary pitches, including a 70 splitter and a low-to-mid-80s slider and he can also throw a curveball.
Tanaka has been compared to Darvish and would fit the Cubs’ need as a top-of-the-rotation young starter.