Reports: Japan ace will cost big bucks; Yanks opening their checkbook

Signing Masahiro Tanaka will be an expensive endeavor.

Tanaka, who officially has been posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’€™s Nippon Professional Baseball, is expected to cost a minimum of $17 million per year, according to USA Today’€™s Bob Nightengale.

The 30-day posting period for Tanaka began Thursday. Any major-league team can negotiate a contract with Tanaka as long as it’€™s willing to pay the Eagles a $20 million fee on top of whatever it agrees to pay the Japanese pitcher. It’€™s been speculated that Tanaka could earn a contract in excess of $100 million, and that possibility seems even greater if the starting price in negotiations indeed is $17 million annually.

Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA with Rakuten in 2013. He is still just 25 years old and is viewed by many as a potential ace. The Yankees already have contacted Tanaka’€™s agent, Casey Close, according to Newsday’€™s Marc Carig. Close also represents Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira.