Masahiro Tanaka narrows search for an agent

Koji Watanabe

There have been mixed reports about the Rakuten Golden Eagles' plan for Masahiro Tanaka. It was believed that they decided they would keep him another year, but then the team came out and said they have yet to make a decision. The Golden Eagles are planning to offer Tanaka a one-year deal of up to three times more than his $4 million 2013 salary to make him the highest paid Japanese player over a single season in NPB history. Now it is believed the team will make a final decision within the next three to five days on whether or not they will allow Tanaka to post. Just in time for Christmas.

In the meantime, it looks like the 25-year-old right-hander is narrowing down his choice of an agent. According to Yahoo! Japan, Tanaka is deciding between Casey Close, Arn Tellem and Mark Pieper. If you're looking for some kind of sign based on the agent he chooses, Close is the agent of Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira, Tellem worked with Yu Darvish when he came to America, and Pieper represents Daisuke Matsuzaka and Koji Uehara.

Clearly, none of them are necessarily bad choices. The agent a player chooses doesn't necessarily make it easier or harder for any one team to sign him, though it's clear that some have more experience dealing with certain types of players than others. If the Yankees really want Tanaka, it won't matter who he chooses to represent him. Maybe Close would be better for them, but Tellem and Pieper might make it easier for him. Even if Tanaka doesn't end up posting in 2013, he'll certainly be coming over in 2014 and he'll still need an agent then.

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