By Hayden Rush and Jack McNeil
Masahiro Tanaka, a right-handed 25-year old Japanese professional baseball pitcher, is about to enter American baseball. Thirty MLB teams were notified that the 30-day period to acquire the righty ace began at 8 p.m. EST Thursday, according the Michael Teevan; an MLB spokesman. Tanaka was a first round draft pick for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the 2006 Nippon Professional Baseball High School draft. He is currently the Eagles’ ace, and from 2013 to 2014 he won 26 consecutive decisions, a NPB record.
Teams have until 5 p.m. on January 24 to attempt to reach an agreement with the ace. The MLB franchise that agrees to a deal with Tanaka will have to pay a posting fee of a capped $20 million dollars to the Golden Eagles, a deal made two weeks ago between the MLB and the NPB. It’ll be an incredibly interesting bidding war over this new comer. But in the end, which big league franchise needs a great starting pitcher in the rotation for the upcoming 2014 season and which franchise will pay that much to get him?
After Tanaka picked Casey Close to be his agent(Jeter’s agent), the Yankees wasted little time to begin dialogue. According to Newsday, the Yankees have been in contact with Close and have been considered favroites since the start. With a need for a starting pitcher, and having Japanese player ties actively and in the past(Kuroda, Matsui), New York seems a likely landing spot. Other teams rumored to be involved are the Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Seattle Mariners. Team officials are putting Tanaka’s value at 17mil per season, at a minimum, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported. Regardless, Tanaka is a free agent, the Yankees, among others, are in, and Tanaka has held up the rest of the free agent market. The dominoes will begin to fall.