With just two weeks until the deadline for Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka to sign with a Major League team, the rumors are flying left and right – and the latest news surrounding the pitcher involves the Los Angeles Dodgers.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Dodgers have made it abundantly clear they will go “all out” to sign Tanaka and “certainly won’t be outbid.”
This is really no surprise to me, personally. I’ve always considered the two front-runners for Tanaka to be Los Angeles and the New York Yankees, but this report only confirms that the new Dodgers ownership group will not accept anything less than bringing the City of Angels its first World Series title since 1988 – a stretch of 26 years.
Should the Dodgers land Tanaka, it would give them an unrivaled rotation in the NL West, including lefty Clayton Kershaw at the helm, followed by Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, Tanaka and newly-acquired Dan Haren.
While the Yankees and Dodgers are reported to have very high levels of interest in Tanaka, the changes to the posting system have allowed over two dozen teams to inquire on the right-hander. There is a $20 million posting fee cap – which is a far cry from the $50 million-plus the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox paid to land rights to Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka in recent years.
Furthermore, this posting fee will be split up into four payments, according to Kiley McDaniel of Scout.com.
50 percent of the posting fee is due within 14 days of the submission of the posted player’s contract, which in Tanaka’s case would mean $10 million by February 7. From there, 17 percent ($3.4 million) would be due within six and twelve months, respectively, with the final 16 percent, or $3.2 million, due within eighteen months of the submission of the posted player’s contract.
In just the last 24 hours or so, the Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays, Indians and Cubs have all been linked to Tanaka. The right-hander not only met with representatives from teams around the league this week, but also had a physical done in Los Angeles, which will be distributed to those interested in his services.
One of the major concerns surrounding Tanaka is the tremendous workload his right shoulder has carried while in Japan. It was commonplace for him to throw over 120 pitches in a start and he once broke 160 pitches in a 24-hour span – something that is unheard of in the Major Leagues today.
Other teams rumored to be interested in the righty include the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox. Tanaka is expected to receive an offer somewhere in the range of 7-8 years and $100 million-plus, due to his relative youth and the weakness of the pitching market this offseason.