The Daily Tanaka: Let the Bidding on Masahiro Tanaka Begin

According to reports out of New York, Casey Close is back from vacation and the bidding on Masahiro Tanaka is expected to begin this week. And teams should receive clarity on how much it will cost to sign Tanaka in the coming days.

The Yankees are expected to spare no expense to sign Tanaka. Ken Davidoff reported “there’s no sense out of Yankees’ camp the team is going to draw any sort of financial line” with Tanaka. The Yankees are desperate for pitching and are looking for a top of the rotation starter. Davidoff explained the Yankees are not “loving” the likes of free agents Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana and they do not have the prospects to trade for a starter like David Price.

Andrew Marchand reported the Yankees have not made “significant contact” with Casey Close “but that is expected to change soon.”

The Mariners are seen as a legitimate threat to sign Masahiro Tanaka out from under the Yankees. Many see Seattle as being the frontrunners, but it is too early and too much is unknown at this point to declare anyone a favorite to sign Tanaka.

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Mariners are “weighing a number of options” including Masahiro Tanaka, David Price and Nelson Cruz. But Seattle’s front office has “to persuade ownership to keep pressing forward.”

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper addressed where Masahiro Tanaka would rank on different teams’ prospects list. Cooper said it would be easier to “list the teams where Tanaka wouldn’t jump to the top of the list.” Cooper indicated Tanaka would rank as the top prospect in 27 of the 30 teams with only the Twins (Byron Buxton), Red Sox (Xander Bogaerts) and the Cardinals (Oscar Tavaras) having players in their system that would rank higher than Tanaka. Baseball America included a scouting report on Tanaka in this year’s Prospect Handbook and gave him “one of the highest grades in the book.”

Bernie Pleskoff took a look at The Tanaka Sweepstakes and he thinks Tanaka signs with the Yankees but he would not count out the Blue Jays “doing whatever it takes to get Tanaka.” And Pleskoff reported he sees the Blue Jays putting on “a full court press” for Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana or even Matt Garza if they fail to land Tanaka. Garza does make sense for Toronto, especially with Dioner Navarro signing there earlier in the off-season.

But what exactly is Masahiro Tanaka looking for? Is he looking for the biggest contract? Is he looking to be the number one pitcher on the team he signs with? Is he looking to play on the West Coast? Or for the team he once visited in the Bronx as a teenager? The New York Post spoke with one scout that is not sure and teams “have to find out how much he’s looking for and what he wants from a team.”

The contract Masahiro Tanaka is expected to sign will be huge (at least six years and $100 million, plus the release fee) and reportedly there is concern throughout the league about his workload.

The New York Post reported a “fierce bidding war is expected.” Teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Mariners, Diamondbacks and Angels that can afford him should be in the mix until the deadline on Jan. 24 at 4:00pm CST.

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[amazonjs asin=”1932391509″ locale=”US” tmpl=”Small” title=”Baseball America 2014 Prospect Handbook: The 2014 Expert guide to Baseball Prospects and MLB Organization Rankings”]

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  • Tony_Hall

    As we wait ever so patiently for the Tanaka sweepstakes to actually get started, let alone come to a conclusion, one day when he is eligible to be voted into the Hall of Fame, how will players be inducted. Will it be the same as today? Here is a good article that takes a look back to 1936 and the first Hall of Fame that had writers turning in their 10 player ballots as if they had filled out a lineup card, only to have them returned with clarification that they can vote for any combination of positions.

    What the 1936 Hall of Fame Ballot Tells Us About Today

    The 1936 Hall of Fame Ballot and Record.

    Of course the induction wasn’t until 1939 and included the 1937 and 1938 inductees, which you can see by changing the year from the drop down box on the right side.

    Hall of Fame injustices have been around since the beginning. This group of players that have made it difficult to figure out who belongs in and who doesn’t, will all get sorted out in time. And hopefully, all the players that had great careers and deserve to be in the HOF, based on how they played, will make it into this museum that honors the greats of baseball. Hopefully right next to Pete Rose. Asterisk’s and full stories included.

    • Tony_Hall

      Here is info about that first induction ceremony in 1939.

      Cy Young and his 511 wins only received 76.1% of the votes to get in on the 2nd year of voting. Hard to believe almost 24% didn’t vote for Cy Young.

      • mutantbeast

        Writers always carried there likes and dislikes. In 1941, Ted Williams hit .406 and finished 2nd to Joe D for MVP. Even with his 56 game hit streak that year, Joe D hit 326. One of the big reasons cited in later years was Williams was not a popular press guy, wouldnt grant interviews, etc etc. Same in 1995 when Albert Belle hit 44Hrs for an Indians team that won the pennant and made the WS, but lost the MVP to Mo Vaughn. Same story with Belle,, a surly character whom many in the press disliked.

        • Tony_Hall

          Agreed, many examples over the years.

          • Tony_Hall

            Somebody obviously doesn’t like my views on the HOF.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Maybe its a HOF writer…

      • GaryLeeT

        It was his 316 losses that gave the writers pause.

  • cc002600

    I would love to see Tanaka in blue pinstripes, but I’m starting to think the bidding will be so outrageous for this guy….and usually when that happens, it ends up bad (i.e the player ends up being a bust). just a hunch. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be excited if we got him :-)

    When you have this many teams drooling over a player, it will be nuts. Like I said before, I think he EASILY gets $25M / year, probably more.

    • cubtex

      How could the Yankees afford him? You know the luxury tax and everything :)))

      • 07GreyDigger

        Because that was reported. I think Cashman wants to be under the tax, but Hank Steinbrenner is another story.

        • cubtex

          why would Cashman care if it is Steinbrenner’s money?

          • 07GreyDigger

            Because from what’s reported, I think he wants to run the team a certain way and Steinbrenner overrules him on some bigger free agent deals. Like I read that Steinbrenner pushed for the trade for Soriano.

          • cubtex

            as a gm…you would want to be told that money is no issue. do whatever it takes to win. like I said….I can’t imagine Cashman would have any problem with that whatsoever.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I’m just saying what was reported. Not my opinion, just reports.

          • mutantbeast

            Tex, you ever wonder why George Steinbrenner had so many GMs? They all eventually got tired of his meddling. C ashman isnt man enough to tell Hank “I run the team”.

          • Tony_Hall

            All GM’s have a budget and need to have a plan for the short term and long term. Ownership keeps Cashman from working on the long term. Cashman knows that if they can back off the luxury tax cliff just this year, the money saved is huge and will be beneficial to them in future years.

      • cc002600

        Well, I guess they are changing course now. Its called desperation. When you have a roster that looks as bad as theirs, they are going to stop at nothing to try and get some talent.

        They will have the worst roster money can buy. !!

  • Tony_Hall

    One voter voted for just Jack Morris – Ken Gurnick –

    • 07GreyDigger

      I wonder if any HOF voters do what I do for the all start game where I vote for the worst players possible. I do it to be funny. But I imagine someone is surly enough to do so. I mean JT Snow needs love too right?

      • Tony_Hall

        Writers have been known to throw a vote to someone to keep them from being shut out. But only when they have an extra vote. This guy feels no one from the steriod era should be voted in, not even Greg Maddux.

        • 07GreyDigger


  • CubbyDenCritic

    Did Theo become the Bulls GM?…….Deng for #1 Pick and (2) #2 picks……one of the best Bulls trades we had for some time ……

    I think MLB trades can be more interesting if teams were allowed to trade their draft picks…….

    What is Tanaka looking for?……Money & to be on a Playoff team…….so we can cancel the Cubs on his list….

    Casey Close better watch his waistline in the coming weeks…..will be at many lunch & dinner conversations with various GM’s.

  • John_CC

    If money is no object in NY I do not understand why they wouldn’t just sign Garza first, and then go after Tanaka. I think Garza could do well for the Yankees, he is the best pitcher available that will not cost draft picks – not like the Yankees care about that either. I wonder why they don’t like him.

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  • Eugene Debs

    The Cubs are not going to get Tanaka.

    I did hear, however, that Les Lancaster and Jeff Pico are warming up in the bullpen.

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