It’s Tanaka Time

December 26, 2013 at 10:24 am | Posted in Masahiro Tanaka | Leave a comment

tanaka_japan_wbcSo, as usual, I go away for a few days, and nothing interesting happened. Or, wait, the other thing: Chris Perez and Jamey Wright are now Dodgers, and other than filling out a backup infielder, the 2014 roster seems pretty much set.

That is, with the possible exception of Masahiro Tanaka, who is now finally posted and free to come to America. This is yesterday’s news, obviously, but there’s only so much writing you can get done while attempting to fly home on Christmas Day.

Now you know the Dodgers will likely have interest, and you know why: adding a pitcher like Tanaka to a rotation that already has Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Dan Haren would just be beyond beastly. It’d cost money — lots of it — but would at least put an end to the speculation about sending Corey Seager, Zach Lee, Joc Pederson, and the legacy of Jackie Robinson to Tampa Bay for David Price.

Frankly, I think the Yankees are the favorite here simply because they need him so badly, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get him. Who knows, really. Perhaps Tanaka prefers to play on the West Coast in order to make travel to Japan easier, and if so, that strongly helps the Dodgers (as well as the Mariners, Angels, etc.) Either way, expect the Dodgers to be tied closely to Tanaka over the next month — especially because Tanaka’s agent, Casey Close, also represents Kershaw & Greinke, among others.

As for the specifics, the posting period begins today and runs through 5pm (ET) on Friday, January 24. Remember, this isn’t a “posting” in the way we’ve known it for years thanks to the new agreement; the easiest way to think about it is that Tanaka is a free agent just like anyone else, other than the fact that he’ll come with a $20m tax that has to go to Rakuten.

One interesting wrinkle, however:

That means there isn’t going to be a list of 8 or 12 or 16 or however many teams who qualified to negotiate. It means that all 30 teams can talk to Tanaka, and while not all will do so seriously, it’s going to make the next month a whirlwind. Strap in.

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