Masahiro Tanaka, believed to be the best free agent pitcher on the market now, has until January 24 to sign with an MLB team or he will lose the ability to play in America until next season. Teams have already reached out to his new agent, Casey Close, but now Tanaka has flown to America to begin meeting with teams personally.
Though he was expected to touch down in Chicago, Tanaka is currently in Los Angeles, due to poor weather conditions. Still, he is expected to meet with a dozen teams, including the Yankees, by Friday. The Dodgers, Cubs, and Diamondbacks are expected to be the major players for the 25-year-old superstar, while the Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays, Mariners, Twins, and Rangers have all been reported to have some level of interest, though it is unknown if they have meetings planned. He could be attending five to six meetings per day between Thursday and Friday, so there's plenty of room in the schedule. He will also have a physical that will be given to any interested teams.
The Yankees have gone out of their way to declare Tanaka their number one priority this offseason, though the change in the posting system might have diminished their interests. Instead of being able to out bid every team in a blind bid with tax-free money, everyone will be able to negotiate with him openly. Instead of an under-market contract, competitive bidding could lead to a deal in excess of $100 million.
The Yankees need to decide whether or not spending such a large sum of money on someone who has never played in Major League Baseball is worth the risk. Adding Tanaka would essentially assure that they burst through the $189 million budget, though it has been reported that if they were to go over, they would prefer to go way over. Tanaka could definitely do that.
- A few ways baseball can improve its Hall of Fame induction system
- Yankees Top Moments Tournament Finals: Gehrig's "Luckiest Man" speech vs. Boone's Game 7 homer
- Yankees sign right-handers Bruce Billings and Yoshinori Tateyama
- Pinstripe Alley Podcast Episode 32: Sexually frustrated seals
- How good could the Yankees' outfield be defensively?