At some point, major league baseball and the Nippon Professional Baseball will come to an agreement about a posting system during the 2014 off-season. Big market teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers are sure to be in the thick of the bidding with Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka and are waiting patiently.
If and when he’s posted, Tanaka will be the best free agent starting pitcher on the market and ESPN baseball analyst Jerry Crasnick polled 21 GMs around the league about where they think the 25-year-old pitcher will end up:
21 GMs around the game about where Tanaka will sign, and 9 of them felt it’d be the Dodgers. The Yankees received six votes, and were the only other team with more than one.
Yahoo! Sports baseball writer Jeff Passan wrote that the Yankees are expected to be super aggressive for Tanaka and there could be a Dodgers-Yankees bidding war. During the 2013 regular season with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, Tanaka posted a record of 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and helped his team win the 2013 Japan Series.
However, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reported this afternoon that a deal between the NPB and MLB could be close:
Sounds like the plan for Japanese posting is that the final bid will be the average of the top two bids. Announcement likely very soon.
— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) November 11, 2013
Tanaka is likely to exceed the $51.7 million posting fee the Rangers paid for Yu Darvish back in 2011 with some speculating that he’ll get over $120 million between the bid and his contract.
If this is the system that gets put in place, the team with the highest bid gets to negotiate exclusively with Tanaka, but only has to pay the average of the top-2 anonymous bids. There was talk about the player getting to choose between the top three bids, but it looks like this deal will be reached shortly.
The Dodgers are also rumored to have interest in Rays ace David Price as some NL West GMs fear they’ll sign Tanaka and trade for Price in the off-season. A rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Price, Tanaka and Hyun-Jin Ryu would be the best rotation in baseball as Ned Colletti and Stan Kasten look to bolster an already impressive rotation.
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