Masahiro Tanaka has officially posted and, under the new rules put into place, he can negotiate with all 30 MLB teams, but the signing team has to be willing to pay the Rakuten Golden Eagles $20 million on top of whatever the final contract is. That means the Yankees will be competing with everyone, though some are more likely to be a threat than others.
Looking at the remaining 29 teams that could pose a threat to the Yankees signing Tanaka, I have given them a color coded threat level of Mild, Medium, Critical.
There's no one on the east coast that shows to be an imminent threat against the Yankees. There are plenty of players who could move in, but as of right now, only a few have the ability to make a run.
Medium: The Blue Jays were big on Yu Darvish and nearly won the bidding, so they could try again. The Red Sox probably have the ability to make a move, but something like this doesn't seem to be their M.O. following last offseason, which worked out pretty well.
The Nationals might have the means and could be the biggest threat of the four, but they already have a strong rotation as it is and could look to improve the team elsewhere. The Phillies are in trouble going into 2014, and while it might make more sense to start moving pieces, they could instead decide to spend to make up for their problems.
Mild: The Orioles need Tanaka, but they have shown to be very gun shy when it comes to free agents. The Braves already have a young rotation, while the Rays, Mets, and Marlins won't really play much of a role.
Critical: The Cubs have been said to be interested in signing Tanaka and now that they have Theo Epstein, maybe they can finally use their money towards a smart investment. They aren't in win-now mode, but Tanaka could be a good first step to start bringing in free agents and fans.
Medium: The Tigers already have plenty of money tied up to their roster, though trading Doug Fister and Prince Fielder could open themselves up to make a bid for Tanaka. The Reds aren't close to a favorite, but they were reportedly interested in retaining Shin-Soo Choo before he signed elsewhere and they could be saving up to make a run.
Mild: A lot of the teams from the middle states lack the financial clout to be big players in these sweepstakes. The Cardinals don't need him and the Twins, Royals, Indians, Brewers, and Pirates can't afford him. The White Sox could possibly maybe get involved, but it doesn't look like they plan to spend much this offseason.
Critical: Here is where the real threats lie. It's possible the Mariners could double down on their offseason expenditures in order to make the Robinson Cano signing worth a little more. One player doesn't turn around a team, but bringing in Cano and Tanaka could really prove they mean business to help change the stigma attached to Seattle.
The Rangers have stated that they are likely out on Tanaka after signing Shin-Soo Choo, but they do have the financial might to make another big splash to put them over the edge. Putting together Choo, Tanaka, and Fielder, along with Darvish and Jurickson Profar is a great way to ensure that they re-establish themselves as a playoff contender.
The Dodgers have a lot of money and they have shown they're not afraid to spend it if they have to. They already have Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu in 2014, but signing Tanaka would be great insurance against potentially losing Kershaw to free agency next year.
Medium: The Diamondbacks have said that Tanaka is their top priority right now, and while they could surprise people, I highly doubt they have the financial strength to entice him to come to the desert. The Angels definitely have the ability to afford Tanaka, if they decide that spending is the only way to improve their financially bloated team.
Mild: The Giants look to have a full rotation, while the Rockies, Padres, and Athletics won't really have much of a voice in negotiations. While it's completely unlikely, the Astros could put together a competitive bid before he signs elsewhere.
Of course there's obviously going to be a mystery team at some point that could blow us all out of the water. Who do you think will be the biggest players for Tanaka? Who will be the mystery team?