Rakuten Officially Announces Masahiro Tanaka Will Be Posted, Cubs Expected To Be All In On Tanaka

The Rakuten Golden Eagles’ team president Yozo Tachibana ended all speculation about Masahiro Tanaka on Tuesday night. During a press conference, Tachibana announced the team would post Tanaka and make him available to sign with a big league team this winter.

Negotiations with Masahiro Tanaka, by the teams willing to pay $20 million to negotiate a contract with him, are expected to start on Thursday. An announcement has not been made on which agent will represent him during the negotiations. Casey Close, Arn Tellem, Mark Pieper and Scott Boras are reportedly in the running to be Tanaka’s agent. And one of those agents is in line for another big payday.

Early estimates are the team that signs Masahiro Tanaka will be paying around $120 million over the next six or seven years, plus the $20 million release fee, for him to pitch at the top of their rotation. The 25-year old right hander would be in his early 30s when the contract expires and if he pitches to expectations could be looking at another large contract.

Teams that commit to paying the $20 million posting fee have 30 days to negotiate and sign Masahiro Tanaka to a contract.

Masahiro Tanaka owns a 99-35 record in seven seasons with Rakuten. In 1315 innings, Tanaka has allowed 1182 hits and 275 walks while striking out 1238 batters (2.30 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP). Tanaka led his team to a Japan Series title last season after going 24-0 in 28 games, 27 starts, with a 1.27 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP (183 strikeouts, 32 walks, 168 hits allowed in 212 innings).

As previously reported, the Cubs are expected to “be all in” on Masahiro Tanaka according to Bruce Levine and David Kaplan. The Yankees, Angels, Diamondbacks and Dodgers are also expected to be all in on him as well. Kaplan reported he spoke with a MLB source on Tuesday that told him the Cubs will “not be outbid” on Tanaka, but “convincing Tanaka to come to Chicago will be hard.” The same source told Kaplan he is not sure Tanaka would turn down either the Yankees or the Dodgers.

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