Saturday reports indicate that you can add yet another team to the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes.
According to 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson, the Minnesota Twins are also interested in the 25-year-old, making the unofficial list of teams in on him as follows: the Twins, Cubs, Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Astros.
While writers across the nation have been seemingly surprised by the fact that teams that are rarely in the mix for major free agents, such as the Twins and Astros, are vying for Tanaka, it seems pretty obvious why.
To talk to Tanaka, you must place a $20 million bid. However, you do not have to pay that amount unless you actually sign the righty, leading to what we’re currently seeing – small market teams being able to make a semi-legitimate run at major international talent.
So will these teams’ interest really matter in the end?
It’s hard to imagine that Tanaka – who is much more vocal than Yu Darvish, who came to the big leagues from Japan a few years back – would settle for a small market atmosphere like Minnesota or Arizona when the big market teams in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are all pursuing him heavily.
That being said, it’s nice that these teams even have a shot to sign players of Tanaka’s caliber. Prior to the change to the posting system, you could usually assume that unless the team had a major payroll, they weren’t in on major talent.
This process will likely drag on for the next month or so before the ball really gets rolling. Whether or not the Cubs land Tanaka remains to be seen, but all reports indicate they are going to be pushing hard to have him in Cubbie blue come Spring Training.