Masahiro Tanaka Rumors
Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs took a stab at evaluating Grady Sizemore, who signed yesterday with the Red Sox, but ultimately concludes that there is too much uncertainty to make a projection reasonable. Here are some more notes on Sizemore and another notable signing from yesterday:
- The Reds offered a big league deal to Grady Sizemore and expected to land him, tweets Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. "He changed his mind," GM Walt Jocketty told Sheldon.
- Discussing his decision to sign with the Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka expressed excitement with joining the game's most historically prominent club, the Associated Press reports (via the New York Times; video available via MLB.com). "They gave me the highest evaluation and are a world famous team," said Tanaka, who said his goal is to win a World Series in pinstripes.
- One oft-mentioned concern with Tanaka was his heavy usage in Japan. Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker posted Tanaka's actual pitch counts from last season, which he found in an Isao Chiba article from Shukan Baseball. Last year, the hurler threw 2,981 pitches over over 211 innings in 27 starts, or 109.7 pitches per start last year. (He also threw one inning in relief.) For reference, Clayton Kershaw -- who is less than a year older than Tanaka -- has exceeded 3,000 pitches in each of the last five seasons (last year, 3,428) while averaging around 104 to 105 pitches per start in his last four campaigns.
- The Cubs' final offer to Masahiro Tanaka was for six years and $120MM, a source tells Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com (Twitter link). That amount does not include the $20MM release fee.
- Chicago was competitive in terms of years and dollars, a source tells David Kaplan of CSN Chicago and WGN Radio (Twitter link), but the Cubs refused to include an opt-out after four years. That position certainly seems to make sense from the perspective of the rebuilding Cubs, especially, since much of the allure of Tanaka is in his ability to deliver value at the back end of his contract.
Jon Rauch is close to signing with a team, MLBTR's Zach Links reports (Twitter link). The 35-year-old posted a 7.56 ERA in 16 2/3 IP with the Marlins last season and also made 10 appearances for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate after signing a minor league contract with the O's in June. Despite his outlier of a 2013 season, Rauch has been a solid right-handed bullpen arm for much of his career, posting a 3.65 ERA, 2.79 K/BB and 7.2 K/9 over 549 2/3 IP from 2004-2012.
Here's some more news as we wrap up a busy Wednesday around baseball...
- The Braves only offered Eric O'Flaherty a one-year contract to remain with the team, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (via Twitter). Though O'Flaherty underwent Tommy John surgery last May and will miss at least part of the 2014 season, he still scored a two-year, $7MM deal from the A's earlier today.
- Yuniesky Betancourt will decide on his new club within the week, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link). Betancourt was drawing interest from several teams, potentially even as a starter.
- Also from Cotillo, there is "strong interest" in right-hander Todd Coffey. At least nine of the 14 teams who attended Coffey's throwing session last week want to see his second session. Coffey is looking to return to action after missing all of 2013 recovering from Tommy John surgery.
- Much of the Indians' success at the plate last season was due to their lineup flexibility and use of bench players, a trait that MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince believes could be somewhat difficult to duplicate in 2014, though Carlos Santana's proposed attempt to play third base would be a great help in that department.
- The Twins didn't have any interest in Grady Sizemore this winter, though the club checked in on him last summer, 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson reports (via Twitter).
- "Another issue with a physical does nothing to enhance the Orioles' reputation in the industry, which is taking a two-fisted beating this winter," Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes in regards to the news that Baltimore's agreement with Tyler Colvin has been delayed due to a problem with the outfielder's physical. Kubatko wonders if the O's could be trying to get Colvin to sign a minor league contract instead of a Major League deal, as the club did last offseason when it wasn't satisifed with Jair Jurrjens' physical.
- The Phillies liked Masahiro Tanaka and engaged in "cursory negotiations" with his representatives, but GM Ruben Amaro told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the team wasn't prepared to go beyond five years to sign the Japanese righty. The Phillies seem likely to go into 2014 with their current pitching options, as they only would've exceeded their payroll limitations for "an exception" like Tanaka.
The Diamondbacks competed against some of MLB's largest markets for Masahiro Tanaka but ended up as one of the finalists for the Japanese righty. FOX Sports Southwest's Jack Magruder and MLB.com's Steve Gilbert have the details from managing partner Ken Kendrick, team president Derrick Hall and GM Kevin Towers on how the Snakes courted Tanaka. Though Tanaka ultimately signed with the Yankees, Kendrick feels the D'Backs "declared ourselves as committed to making a very significant offer to someone who can be a difference-maker to our club....The agent world understands that if we like a player, we will go after him. I don't think that's a bad thing."
Here's some more from around the NL West...
- Towers reiterated that the team would still look to add "a top-of-the-rotation type guy" if one became available, and the general manager noted that more trade possibilities could open up with Tanaka now off the market. That said, Towers and Hall said they were satisfied with their current pitching options and that their pursuit of Tanaka was a special case. Magruder reported earlier today that Arizona wasn't planning to pursue other free agent starters given their high price tags.
- The Diamondbacks' current TV rights contract expires after the 2015 season, and since the team expects to earn more TV money in its next deal, Hall felt the Snakes could afford to spend extra on Tanaka. "This is not money that we had this past year or in the past," Hall said. "It's an anticipated increase in revenues. It was banking on the fact that -- and it's been out there -- that our television situation is going to change dramatically. With that, we were able to spread our wings a bit."
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and several team scouts attending a private workout with Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, Baseball America's Ben Badler reports. Badler profiled Castillo, a right-handed hitting outfielder with experience at second and third base, last month. The 26-year-old may be months away from signing with a team, as he still to go through all of the procedural work required of Cuban players to reach the majors.
- The Dodgers were "not anywhere close" in the bidding for Tanaka and were outbid by "a decent amount" by both the Yankees and Cubs, two sources tell Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. While the Dodgers were obviously impressed enough with Tanaka to offer him a $100MM+ contract, "they're not convinced Tanaka is all that," Shaikin writes. Since they didn't see Tanaka as a true ace and the Dodgers weren't desperate for pitching, they weren't willing to get into a bidding war.
- Along these same lines, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon argues that the Dodgers don't need to pursue the likes of Matt Garza, Bronson Arroyo or other free agent starters since they could have a surplus of pitching if Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett are healthy. Zach Lee and other minor league arms are also on hand for rotation depth.
- Veteran right-hander Brett Tomko threw for the Padres earlier this offseason, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link). Tomko is attempting a comeback and recently told MLBTR's Zach Links that he had spoken with at least 10 other Major League clubs, as well as a few Asian teams. For more on Tomko's comeback, check out Links' interview with the 40-year-old righty.
The Masahiro Tanaka saga has come to an end in record-setting fashion. Earlier today, Tanaka agreed to an enormous seven-year, $155MM contract with the Yankees that contains an opt-out clause after the fourth season. Tanaka's $155MM guarantee is the second-largest in history for a free agent pitcher (the largest for a right-hander) and is also the second-largest pitcher contract in history in terms of new money guaranteed. The Tanaka buzz is unlikely to die down in the next couple of days, as pundits dissect the contract and what it means for the Yankees and the free agent market. Here's a look at some of the early reactions to and fallout from the Yankees' staggering investment...
- New York GM Brian Cashman discussed the deal from the team's perspective in a conference call today, and MLBTR's Zach Links reported on the highlights.
- ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the Yankees' internal sense is that this concludes their pursuit of major free agents this offseason (Twitter link).
- It's little surprise that the team with the biggest need and one of the two biggest revenue bases from which to draw wound up landing Tanaka, writes ESPN's Keith Law (Insider required). Law feels that Tanaka will be one of the 20 to 25 best starters in Major League Baseball in 2014 and notes that the opt-out clause works to the Yankees' advantage, in a way.
- SB Nation's Rob Neyer writes that while Tanaka is a significant upgrade for the Yankees, it's hyperbolic to suggest that this signing will change the balance of power in the American League.
- The Cubs were the runner-up in the Tanaka sweepstakes, according to David Kaplan of CSN Chicago (Twitter link). Ultimately, the fact that they're not ready to win in 2014 ended their chances, he elaborates.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Yankees separated themselves, but not by a wide margin. The Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox, Astros and Diamondbacks were all involved in the end. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, all teams that participated in the second round of bidding had to come in above the six-year, $120MM level.
- Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com reports that the seventh guaranteed year is what separated the Yankees from the rest of the pack (on Twitter). According to Kaplan (via Twitter), other factors "trumped the possibility of more money," including the influence of Ichiro Suzuki and Hiroki Kuroda and the attractiveness of playing for the game's highest-profile franchise.
- The Dodgers wanted Tanaka, but drew a financial line, reports Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. As Dilbeck explains, the team does have financial limitations that it intends to abide by. "We went as far as we thought we could go," said GM Ned Colletti.
- For the White Sox, GM Rick Hahn says that reports of the team's efforts to land Tanaka largely seemed "accurate," reports Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Ultimately, however, Hahn says that the money reached a level that the club was not comfortable reaching. The resources that the club would have used to sign Tanaka remain available for a similarly attractive opportunity in the future, Hahn said, but he does not see any in the current market. (Links to Twitter.)
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports that the Astros' offer to Tanaka exceeded $100MM. McTaggart adds that GM Jeff Luhnow, owner Jim Crane and seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens were among the Astros contingent that went to meet with Tanaka in Los Angeles.
- Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona was told that the Diamondbacks would not pursue other free-agent starters if they missed out on Tanaka, as the front office believes the asking prices to be too high (Twitter link).
- The Blue Jays were involved initially on Tanaka, but had "no way to compete" once it became clear that he would command seven years, reports John Lott of the National Post. Toronto had been willing to pay the $20MM fee, but was only interested in going to five years on the contract, Lott says. The team was also troubled by the opt-out clause, Lott tweets. Toronto figures to be among the most active teams on remaining free agent starters.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters, including MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez, that his team was never very involved with Tanaka and did not make a formal offer (Twitter link). As Gonzalez further explains, the Halos will instead either try to fit Matt Garza within the team's approximately $15MM of 2014 budget space or hunt for a good deal from amongst the cheaper open-market options.
- The Tanaka signing caps a nice run for Casey Close and the Excel Sports Management agency, notes Darren Heitner of Forbes. With an estimated 4% take, those two contracts would deliver a total of $14.8MM to the agency. Heitner notes also that Excel has worked out several notable deals with the Yankees in the past, given its representation of Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira. With its latest run of big contracts, says Heitner, Excel will surely climb the Forbes agency valuation chart.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
Earlier today, the Yankees gave Masahiro Tanaka the largest ever open-market deal for a right-handed free agent pitcher - a seven-year, $155MM pact. It's the sort of contract that Yankees fans have come to expect from the club over the years, but there were serious doubts heading into this offseason that they would be writing those kinds of checks after about a year of talk of staying under the $189MM luxury tax threshold. Now, with free agents Tanaka, Carlos Beltran (three years, $45MM), Brian McCann (five years, $85MM), and Jacoby Ellsbury (seven years, $153MM) in the fold, it's hard to see the Bombers staying beneath that line. On today's conference call, I asked General Manager Brian Cashman when the Yankees decided that they would scrap their fiscally conservative plan. He responded:
"I think Hal Steinbrenner has spoken to that on a number of occasions now, the new basic agreement provided certain benefits if we were on our way to under $189MM, he conveyed that it was a goal, but he has reiterated that it wouldn't come at the expense of putting together a championship team. I think our fans can recognize that Hal Steinbrenner and Hank Steinbrenner [mean it] when they say they intend to put a team on the field that can compete on a yearly basis."
Indeed, the Yankees showed this winter that they were not going to accept a repeat of last season, which ended with an 85-77 finish and no postseason berth. I asked Cashman if this was the last starting pitcher or significant free agent that the Bombers would add, and while he was largely non-committal, he did acknowledge that "much of the heavy lifting" has already taken place.
Tanaka was widely regarded as the best free agent pitcher on the open market this offseason, despite never having thrown a major league pitch. His upside and his age made him an extremely hot commodity, but his odometer is of concern to some. For instance, the Rakuten Golden Eagles allowed him to toss a 160-pitch complete-game loss in Game 6 of the Japanese championship series before throwing 15 pitches in relief the next day. Cashman says that he and his staff have taken those concerns into account and were willing to forge ahead anyway:
"You always have concerns. That's always something you can't ignore or deny. But, I think that as you can see clearly by the competitve bidding on him as a free agent, with his age, talent, the scouting assessments on him, and the pitching market the way it is, it's certainly something that we're still willing to take the risk by acknowledging, yeah, there's a workload there."
The Yankees, despite their worries, came out on top in the bidding process, but Cashman isn't quite sure how much he beat the second-highest bidder by. The GM was informed that the bidding was "very competitive," but he isn't sure how the other finalists (reportedly including the Dodgers, White Sox, Cubs, and D'Backs) stacked up. He also confirmed that the opt-out clause included in the deal wasn't initially part of their pitch but instead was requested by agent Casey Close. Close told Cashman that all of the other serious offers included an opt-out clause and would more-or-less be mandatory if he hoped to land the hurler.
When asked if he shied away from fellow Japanese star Yu Darvish before the 2012 season due to concerns over some of his fellow countrymen not making the grade, Cashman was adamant that he was very interested in his services. The scouting department was extremely high on the right-hander, but the $50MM+ posting fee that was required was too rich for their blood at the time.
This time around, the Yankees got their man with a much more reasonable $20MM fee, though the total commitment to Tanaka is much higher than the roughly $108MM the Rangers committed to land Darvish ($51.7MM posting fee and $56MM salary guarantee). Needless to say, it's a sizable committment, and one that the Yankees made after years of homework. According to Cashman:
"We started evaluating him back in 2007, certainly paying close attention to him in the '09 [World Baseball Classic]. This year we went to 15 of his games including the WBC and we sent a scout to evaluate him in the playoffs as well. We made a determined effort to know as much as we possibly could."
After months of drama and speculation, the Masahiro Tanaka saga has come to an end. The Yankees today officially announced that they've signed the Japanese righty to a seven-year contract that is reportedly worth a massive $155MM. The contract provides Tanaka with an opt-out clause after the fourth season and also contains a full no-trade clause. Tanaka is represented by Excel Sports Management -- the same agents that negotiated Clayton Kershaw's record-setting extension.
Tanaka's contract is the largest ever open-market deal for a right-handed free agent pitcher and trails only CC Sabathia's $161MM contract (also issued by the Yankees) for the largest free-agent contract ever signed by a pitcher. In terms of "new money," Tanaka's deal eclipses all previous pitcher contracts with the exception of Kershaw and Sabathia. While the total contract values of Justin Verlander ($180MM) and Felix Hernandez ($175MM) both exceed $155MM, each of those deals was an extension on top of two guaranteed years, meaning they contain $140MM and $135.5MM of "new money," respectively, as outlined last year by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes.
Of course, the Yankees are paying more than just $155MM for Tanaka, as they will also owe a $20MM posting fee to the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball -- Tanaka's former team in Japan. The Yankees are placing a great deal of faith in Tanaka, making a Felix-Hernandez-sized $175MM investment in order to secure his services.
Tanaka's stats in Japan indicate that he's worth the risk. The 6'2", 205-pound right-hander famously went 24-0 this past season with an unthinkable 1.27 ERA, averaging 7.8 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, 0.3 HR/9 and just 7.1 H/9. In his 212 regular-season innings last year, Tanaka's electric fastball and lethal splitter -- which is the regarded by some scouts as the best splitter in the world -- led to just six home runs by opposing batters. Despite those gaudy numbers, Tanaka is seen by most scouts and evaluators as a No. 2 type of starter in the Major Leagues. While many will be quick to compare him to countryman Yu Darvish, Tanaka is not said to carry that level of upside.
Tanaka suffered just one loss overall in his historic 2013 season -- a 160-pitch (yes, 160) complete-game loss in Game 6 of the Japan Series (NPB's championship series). Incredibly, Tanaka asked for the ball the very next day and closed out the Golden Eagles' championship victory by throwing 15 pitches in the series clincher.
Overall, his career numbers are almost as impressive as his 2013 campaign. Tanaka debuted as an 18-year-old in 2007 but still hurled 186 1/3 innings. Since that time, he's pitched to a 2.30 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 1315 career regular-season innings -- all coming with the Golden Eagles.
The signing of Tanaka should put to bed any hope of the Yankees remaining under the $189MM luxury tax threshold. Despite losing Robinson Cano to the Mariners this offseason, the Yankees have made mammoth free-agent commitments to Tanaka, Carlos Beltran (three years, $45MM), Brian McCann (five years, $85MM) and Jacoby Ellsbury (seven years, $153MM). Additionally, as shown in MLBTR's Transaction Tracker, they've brought back Hiroki Kuroda (one year, $16MM) and Derek Jeter (one year, $12MM) and signed Matt Thornton (two years, $7MM), Brendan Ryan (two years, $5MM), Kelly Johnson (one year, $3MM) and Brian Roberts (one year, $2MM). That's a total of $483MM in guaranteed money, and the free-agent expenditure jumps to more than half a billion dollars when factoring in Tanaka's $20MM posting fee -- although that will be paid in four installments, some of which will come in 2015.
Tanaka was seen as a must-sign pitcher by the Yankees, after seeing Sabathia struggle through the worst season of his career in 2014, seeing Andy Pettitte retire and possessing little in the way of impact arms in their farm system. Tanaka will join Sabathia, Kuroda (who floundered down the stretch in 2013 as well) and Ivan Nova in the Yankees' rotation, with candidates for the fifth spot including Michael Pineda, David Phelps and Vidal Nuno.
Of course, the Yankees could elect to pursue any of the remaining big-name free agent starters as well; Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza, Ervin Santana and Bronson Arroyo are all still free agents, as are less-expensive options such as Paul Maholm and Chris Capuano. The market for free agent starters has been completely halted by the Tanaka saga. Teams have been waiting to see whether or not they will land Tanaka -- their top option -- while agents for Jimenez, Garza, Santana, etc. have been waiting to make sure they know exactly how many suitors are out there for their clients. For instance, had the D-Backs won the Tanaka sweepstakes, they'd have been out of the bidding for other free agent pitchers. Instead, they now figure to be heavily interested in Garza, as they were at last month's Winter Meetings.
Information on the bidding for Tanaka was kept largely under wraps by the teams and his agents at Excel Sports Management, but the Cubs, White Sox, Dodgers and Diamondbacks were all known to have been players for his services. Tanaka was said to prefer a large market, and while there were rumors that his wife preferred to be on the West Coast, he will instead don Yankee pinstripes for at least four years upon finalizing the record-setting offer. Tanaka will likely fly to the U.S. to take a physical with the Yankees' team doctors between now and the Friday, 5pm ET deadline for completion of his contract.
For Tanaka, this contract affords him the luxury to opt out of his deal and once again test the open market heading into just his age-29 season. Though he may not have an ace-caliber ceiling, should Tanaka pitch to expectations, he would have no trouble eclipsing the remaining three years and $67MM on his contract as a free agent in the 2017-18 offseason.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the agreement and terms of the contract (on Twitter). Joel Sherman of the New York Post provided the year-to-year salaries (Twitter link), and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported the no-trade clause (also on Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Reports yesterday indicated that the bidding for Masahiro Tanaka will reach six to seven years and $20MM per season, with the Red Sox and Astros mentioned to seemingly be long shots. Here are today's Tanaka-related links, as the deadline for a decision now looms less than 60 hours away...
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports that the Diamondbacks are no longer in the running for Tanaka, though he's not sure where exactly Tanaka will end up. This is somewhat of a surprise, as the Snakes were rumored to have made an offer of $120MM over six years, which should certainly be competitive, if accurate. However, Tanaka is said to prefer a major market, so it's fair to speculate that Phoenix may not have appealed to him as much as some of the larger markets that are still in play.
- Yesterday, the New York Post's Joel Sherman ran down the striking similarity between the Yankees' 2008 pursuit of CC Sabathia and their current pursuit of Tanaka, cautioning that this time, the perception that the Yankees can get what they want by flexing unmatchable financial muscle no longer exists. Sherman also speculates that it's likely that Tanaka's agency, Excel Sports, is seeking an opt-out clause similar to the ones they negotiated for Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
News on a landing spot for Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka has been expected between now and Thursday. But now Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweets that the decision could take til Friday since Tanaka may stand on a physical taken during his trip to Los Angeles earlier in the month. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains (Twitter links), the results of Tanaka's January 9th physical were shared with interested clubs, but teams may want their own medical staff to get a firsthand look. Either way, Tanaka must be signed to a deal with no contingencies on or before Friday at 4pm central time. We'll keep tabs on today's news right here:
- In case you missed it from this morning, ESPN.com's Buster Olney wrote an Insider piece that profiles Tanaka agent Casey Close of Excel Sports Management. The relatively non-promotional and rumor-free negotiation process reflects the businesslike personalities of both Close and Tanaka, Olney suggests.
- Teams bidding on Tanaka are "in for at least 6 or 7 years," reports Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com (on Twitter). The average annual value will be "at or above" $20MM, Levine adds. Put those numbers together, of course, and Levine's report suggests that Tanaka will command at least $120MM (in addition, presumably, to the $20MM posting fee).
- The Red Sox "do not appear to be among the finalists" in the Tanaka sweepstakes, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- Astros owner Jim Crane says that the team is interested in Tanaka, reports Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (via Twitter). We heard yesterday that Houston may have been one of the clubs to have met with Tanaka and his representatives. It is still not known, of course, whether the 'Stros interest has manifested itself as a competitive, formal offer. And McTaggart tweets that, in his opinion, the club is a "longshot."
- Once Tanaka officially comes off the board, baseball is set to experience a rush of important free agent signings that has not been experienced in recent seasons, as MLBTR's Transaction Tracker documents. On or after January 24, 2009, there were six multi-year free agent deals and three contracts that included at least $10MM in guaranteed money. Last year, five and three deals hit those respective marks on or after 1/24. The intervening years -- 2012 (2/2), 2011 (0/0), and 2010 (1/1) -- had much fewer substantial, late signings. Assuming that no major deals go down before Friday, however, at least eight still-available free agents seem quite likely to get multi-year deals that guarantee over $10MM: Tanaka, Kendrys Morales, Stephen Drew, Nelson Cruz, Bronson Arroyo, Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Ervin Santana. A good number of others -- including A.J. Burnett, Paul Maholm, Chris Capuano, Grant Balfour, and Fernando Rodney -- still have an excellent chance at scoring multiple years, eight-figure guarantees, or both.
The Masahiro Tanaka clock is ticking, and the right-hander has until Friday to agree to a deal with his first Major League team. Recent reports have indicated that the Cubs are emerging as one of the favorites, but their status as a losing team could stand in the way of landing Tanaka. Yesterday it was reported that Tanaka could agree on Tuesday or Wednesday this week in order to give his new club time to perform the necessary physical and paperwork to make things official. We'll keep track of today's Tanaka-centric links here...
- Whichever club is chosen by Tanaka should know by at least the end of the day Wednesday, tweets David Kaplan of CSN Chicago and WGN Radio. That way, explains Kaplan, the club has time for "additional medicals."
- The Blue Jays "are not among the teams in consideration" for Tanaka, says Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. But Toronto is definitely involved in adding a free agent starter from what Griffin calls the "next tier" of starting arms, and is willing to sacrifice a second-round pick to do so. (The Jays' two first-round choices are protected.)
- Industry source believe that the Cubs will outbid the field in terms of years and dollars in order to land Tanaka, tweets Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com. Levine adds that at this point, no team knows how much its competitors have bid.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes that the Cubs may need Tanaka more than the Yankees or Dodgers, but he doesn't feel that Tanaka is interested in coming to America to pitch for a losing club. He feels Chicago would have to overpay in order to land Tanaka, which he says is not the Ricketts family's style. The Dodgers present the best set of circumstances in terms of available money, proximity to Japan, weather, a competitive team and a pitcher-friendly environment, Morosi writes.
- Over the weekend, a rival executive told MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo that he believes the Astros met with Tanaka, though he is unsure whether or not they made a formal offer (Twitter link).
Masahiro Tanaka will reportedly command a contract in the neighborhood of $120MM over six years (plus the expected $20MM posting fee) and is said to have received such an offer from the Diamondbacks. Here's the latest with five days remaining before Tanaka's posting period expires Friday at 4pm CT:
- The Cubs' convention this weekend was rather quiet, but that might have been different if Tanaka's deadline had been a week earlier, Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago writes. One source told Rogers that the Cubs would be willing to sign Tanaka for up to six to eight years at $25MM per year, while another told him the Cubs would be willing to go with that time frame, but at a lower price.
- Tanaka's decision should come Tuesday or Wednesday to allow time for further medical exams to take place prior to the Friday deadline, an AL scout tells David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com (via Twitter).
- Kaplan tweets the same scout tells him the Cubs' current state is the biggest drawback in their landing Tanaka. Yesterday, we learned the Cubs made a formal offer to Tanaka, but are considered a long shot to win the bidding.
- The White Sox, who also have reportedly have made a formal offer to Tanaka, are in the same boat as the Cubs, tweets Kaplan.
- The Mariners may have been priced out of contention for Tanaka or the 25-year-old's interest in Seattle wasn’t as high as some thought, reports the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.