All MLBTR readers are familiar with the MLB hot stove, but the biggest factor on the 2013-14 offseasion hails from abroad. As you are no doubt aware, Masahiro Tanaka spent his entire career to date in Japan with the Rakuten Golden Eagles. Rakuten posted Tanaka, and stands to collect $20MM once Tanaka signs with a big league club. Tanaka was the best player on last year's Japan Series-winning Golden Eagles club. But how did Rakuten build that championship team, when the franchise was not even formed until 2005? Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker details the rise of the Golden Eagles, which featured the use of top draft picks on pitchers while the club added power from MLB castaways like Andruw Jones and Casey McGehee. Though Rakuten inked Kevin Youkilis to replace the departed McGehee, says Newman, filling in for Tanaka figures to be an impossibility.
As we pass another night without learning where Tanaka will land, let's look at some notes from the American League:
- Twins top prospect Miguel Sano is the game's best third-base prospect, according to Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com. Sano anchors the top spot on the list for the second consecutive season. The free Top 10 list (with scouting reports) is rounded out by Kris Bryant, Nick Castellanos, Maikel Franco, Colin Moran, Garin Cecchini, Matt Davidson, D.J. Peterson, Joey Gallo and Hunter Dozier.
- Minnesota has not shown interest in Chone Figgins since watching his workout last week, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter). Other clubs have expressed interest in Figgins and made offers inviting him to camp, Wolfson adds.
- When asked about an extension for manager Ron Washington, Rangers GM Jon Daniels was positive but noncommittal, as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports on Twitter. "He's been a huge part of what we've done here," said Daniels. "I expect that to continue going forward."
- Meanwhile, Daniels says that Texas is working the free agent market for pitching depth, but is not looking at top-of-the-market arms, Wilson further tweets. We heard recently that the club had inquired on Paul Maholm and Bruce Chen.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.