After the Rakuten Golden Eagles made the long-awaited decision to post ace Masahiro Tanaka, the posting period opened this morning. Any team that is willing to pay his former club a posting fee of $20MM will have the right to negotiate with Tanaka over the next 30 days (a full refresher on the new rules can be found here). Tanaka's posting period comes to a close on Jan. 24 at 4pm CT, meaning that there could be as many as 700 more hours of drama, rumors and speculation regarding his ultimate destination. Here are today's Tanaka-centric links…
- MLB.com's Richard Justice writes that teams see Tanaka not as a seven-year deal but rather as an investment to make an immediate impact that could yield a spot in the 2014 playoff picture. The Yankees would like to make an offer to close the bidding process before it truly begins, writes Justice, but several other teams likely feel the same.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that while Tanaka's new agent, Casey Close, does not have Scott Boras' public reputation of bargaining hard, he does have that reputation within the industry. Close is no stranger to large deals, as he represents Derek Jeter and Zack Greinke among others.
- Sherman also runs down a list of eight teams that he feels to be the Yankees' most serious competition for Tanaka: the Dodgers, Angels, Red Sox, Phillies, Rangers, Cubs, Diamondbacks and Mariners.
- In a piece for FOX Sports, Gabe Kapler writes that he spoke to one Major League GM who thought Tanaka would sign for something in the six-year, $105MM neighborhood (not including the posting fee). Kapler feels that Tanaka's age and the potential bidding war will up the price to something in the range of seven years and $125MM (plus the $20MM posting fee). He also cautions that Tanaka is far from a sure thing and will need to display impeccable command of his fastball or add some movement to it in order to flourish in the Majors.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post can't imagine Tanaka signing for anything less than $100MM (Sulia link).
- The next 30 days will tell us if the Dodgers are hitting their spending limit — self-imposed or otherwise — or if their lack of big spending thus far in the offseason has merely been as a result of waiting for Tanaka, writes Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. Hernandez notes that the team already has five players under control through 2017 and would like that number to rise to seven with extensions to Clayton Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez.