The latest news surrounding Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka seems to suggest that the Chicago Cubs are seemingly out of the running for his services.
According to the New York Daily News, the Yankees are essentially in a holding pattern as they await the right-hander’s decision, which will come sometime in the next nine days due to a Jan. 24 deadline that his camp must meet should he hope to pitch in Major League Baseball this season.
The same report details that Tanaka prefers a large market city as opposed to somewhere off the well-beaten path, which essentially rules out teams like the Seattle Mariners – a team that badly needs to make additional moves to follow-up on its signing of former Yankees’ second baseman Robinson Cano earlier this offseason.
That being said, it has been widely reported that Tanaka’s wife prefers the West Coast, which would then make one think that Seattle may not be such a long-shot after all. Of late, it appears the Dodgers and the Yankees are the favorites to land the right-hander, as has been the case for much of this process. Simply put, these teams are a notch above the rest in terms of financial power and baseball respect.
According to Oakland beat writer Susan Slusser, Billy Beane and the A’s aren’t in on Tanaka, either. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto also recently stated that he had not met with Tanaka while he was in Los Angeles, but keep in mind that the only team to publicly confirm a meeting with him is the Chicago White Sox, who were said to have ‘casual’ conversations about the right-hander.
In related news, with less than a month till Spring Training begins, several major free agents remain on the open market, including former Cubs pitcher Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, Nelson Cruz and Stephen Drew.
Cruz is unlikely to return to Texas, while the destinations for the trio of pitchers is seemingly up-in-the-air – especially until Tanaka signs somewhere. Drew is expected to end up either back in Boston or with the New York Mets, despite repeated statements from the organization reiterating that the organization is planning on Ruben Tejada as the starting shortstop in 2014.