Peter Gammons' published a new piece today on Rakuten Golden Eagles owner Hiroshi Mikitani, which included several quotes. On of the most notable comments from Mikitani was about his prized starting pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka: "I don’t intend to post him." However, Gammons' interview was conducted last Wednesday, and many additional reports have surfaced since then suggesting that the matter is far from resolved. Here are a few Monday evening updates on Tanaka from Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports:
- Yozo Tachibana, the Golden Eagles' president, plans to arrive at MLB's winter meetings in Orlando on Tuesday. As Passan writes, Tachibana's appearance may lead to some clarity on whether or not the team will post Tanaka.
- The influence of the Rakuten front office over Tanaka is "significant" and recent changes to NPB posting rules are believed to have drastically reduced the club's interest in opening the bidding for its star pitcher.
- While the Golden Eagles are expected to try to persuade Tanaka to remain in Japan, sources tell Passan that if Tanaka wants to make the jump to MLB, Mikitani and the team may be willing to simply honor his wishes.
- Executives who spoke to Passan on Monday pegged a deal in the six-year, $100MM range for Tanaka, if he's posted.
- Passan hears from sources that in the past there have been arrangements where NPB teams agreed to give a portion of a player's posting fee back to the player. The Yahoo! scribe wonders if an agreement could be reached that would funnel money back to Rakuten in excess of the $20MM max, if the team decides to post Tanaka.