MLB

Pitcher Tanaka's Japanese team says he can seek career in MLB

Masahiro Tanaka
Masahiro Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in the Japanese Pacific League.
Share This Story

Jon Paul Morosi

Jon Paul Morosi is a National MLB Writer for FOXSports.com. He previously covered baseball for the Detroit Free Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He began his journalism career at the Bay City Times in his native Michigan. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

After nearly two months of transoceanic baseball diplomacy, Masahiro Tanaka is on his way to Major League Baseball.

MLB HOT STOVE

Follow the latest rumors and deals from FOX Sports Insiders Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi.

Tanaka, the Japanese pitching sensation, has been granted his wish to pitch in the major leagues. His team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, announced at a Dec. 25 news conference in Japan that Tanaka will be available to MLB clubs this winter through the posting process.

According to NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, Rakuten team president Yozo Tachibana acknowledged his reservations about the new posting system — which caps the posting fee at $20 million — but said the team did not want to hold back a star player from a challenge he wishes to embrace. Tanaka, 25, is coming off a year in which he went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in the Japanese Pacific League.

So with one drama resolved, another begins: Which MLB team will meet Tanaka’s price tag, which could be around $100 million?

Tanaka’s case closely resembles traditional free agency — albeit with an extraordinarily steep ante. Tanaka can sign with any team that pays Rakuten the posting fee, almost certain to be the maximum $20 million. That’s a dramatic departure from the previous system for Yu Darvish and others, under which there was no limit on the compensation received by Japanese clubs. (The highest-bidding MLB club won exclusive negotiating rights with the player.)

Foreign athletes who starred in United States

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Some of the greatest athletes to play in America were born elsewhere.

The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers — large-market franchises known to be looking for a starting pitcher — are viewed as frontrunners for Tanaka. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs have interest, too.

The Texas Rangers, the beneficiaries of Darvish’s wildly successful entrance to MLB, were thought to be a primary suitor for Tanaka before investing $130 million in free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo; the Choo signing doesn’t necessarily rule out the Rangers as a possibility for Tanaka, but they obviously have less money to spend.

The news of Tanaka’s posting will be welcomed warmly by the MLB Players Association. The union and a number of player agents had grown concerned about the effect of Rakuten’s indecision on the marketplace for top free-agent pitchers Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez and Matt Garza. All remained unsigned as of Christmas, presumably because teams had been waiting to see if the pitching market would include Tanaka.

Now they know. At a time of year when teams typically wrap up their offseason shopping, the 2013-2014 pitching market is completely open for the very first time.

Tagged: Rangers

More Stories From Jon Paul Morosi

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..