As the off-season begins to pick up with signings and trades, it seems as if the Nippon Professional Baseball league is serious in trying to reach an agreement on a new posting system with Major League Baseball.
An agreement must be reached in order for Japanese starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to come to the majors, as he’s widely considered the top starting pitcher available if he reaches the market.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Japanese baseball officials are taking large measures to try and reach an agreement:
Top Japanese baseball officials are scheduled to fly to New York this week to try to finalize a new posting system,….
Heyman also highlighted the interest in Tanaka from certain teams, including the Dodgers:
Tanaka is expected to be pursued by the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, possibly the Giants and Rangers, as well as several others, though the expected presence of the Yankees and Dodgers could scare off some teams.
Tanaka was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 183 strikeouts in 28 games for the Rakuten Eagles. The 25-year-old has been compared to Japanese import Yu Darvish, who set a record with a $51.7 million posting bid. Tanaka has been compared to Darvish in terms of talent and potential in the big leagues.
Analysts project a $60-75 million posting bid for Tanaka and then another $50-60 million for a contract. The Dodgers and their abundance of money are expected to bid on the right-hander to fill a spot in their rotation.
Many teams may be waiting for the agreement and posting of Tanaka before making their decision on other free agent starting pitchers such as Matt Garza, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez. The starting pitching market has been rather slow this off-season, with left-hander Jason Vargas being the biggest signing thus far.
The Dodgers will be eagerly anticipating the results from the negotiations in New York in order to find out if they will acquire a new starting pitcher.
ICYMI: The Texas Rangers and Dodgers talked trade at the GM Meetings.