Thursday, January 9, 2014


It began today, you know.  Masahiro Tanaka is in the United States and every Major League Baseball team is going to lay it on real thick now, trying to convince this guy that their team could be a contender with him on their club.  It's going to get bloody between clubs because they'll try and top each other and who knows what they'll be telling the Tanaka reps behind the scenes.  One thing is clear though; If you are the New York Yankees, you have to do your best pitch.  One would suggest you keep guys like Hank Steinbrenner out of the room when he comes to a New York pitch.  Many suggest Randy Levine may not be the right guy either.  Brian Cashman would need to do his best this time. It's a big fish and it's a must to have Tanaka on the Yankees.  We must not fail in this tour.  We need to win him over. 

I retweeted David Waldstein of the New York Times' tweet this morning. It was big news if you woke up late.  Tanaka was here! As he writes in his piece:

"Several major league teams have expressed interest. The Yankees, who expect the bidding to exceed $100 million, plan to be aggressive. If Tanaka visits multiple teams, a stop at Yankee Stadium is likely to be on his agenda. Tanaka is represented by Casey Close, Derek Jeter’s longtime agent."

Now, don't think for a second that because Close is Jeter's agent, Tanaka will sign with the Yankees.  No doubt Close is doing what's best for his client and while there is a connection... it means nothing. This is a process and business and he will visit the teams he is serious about. 

Where is Tanaka right this second? Chicago, according to the Star Ledger and first reported in the New York Times. The Ledger writes:    

"The Cubs are considered one of the Yankees’ chief rivals for Tanaka’s services, and the White Sox could also meet with Tanaka in the Windy City. The Dodgers and Mariners are also among the favorites in this impeding bidding war, with Arizona, Texas and Detroit lurking on the perimeter.... Negotiations could heat up as early as next week. There is little time to waste. The posting period for Tanaka ends Jan. 24. Any interested team must be willing to pay a $20 million posting fee to Rakuten Golden Eagles, Tanaka’s club in Nippon Professional Baseball."

We have heard that the Cubs are going to play "hardball". There was a piece a few weeks ago by Ryan Morrison by Inside the Zona and had a unique perspective on the whole Tanaka / Yankees / Cubs stuff.  I snagged a few quotes from him for you to check out:

 The Cubs:

“Consider the situation of the Chicago Cubs.  After three seasons with payrolls above $134M in 2009-2011, the Cubs committed to a rebuilding cycle, settling back down under $110M for the last two seasons.  They have money to spend, but no reason to spend it on the 2014 version of the team.  2015 may spell the beginning of their turnaround, but it’s only 2016 and beyond that their good young players may be contributing to the major league club in a meaningful way.  Now consider that of those good young players, almost all are position player prospects.

Add to that Theo Epstein’s comment from early November: ‘We wish there was a free agent market for young players.’”

The Yankees:

“… the Yankees’ need for Tanaka might be the greatest in the land.  New York’s rotation issues are profound.  Beyond a declining CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, who agreed to give the Yankees one more year, they have the somewhat underrated Ivan Nova, slot filler David Phelps, and maybe Michael Pineda, who was great before shoulder surgery, but who is returning from… shoulder surgery.  In the minors, most possibilities are either recovering from injury or recently returned from one.

Also — they’re the Yankees.  Yes, they’ve been flirting with the recently-raised luxury tax threshold, but unless the luxury tax threshold is completely turning them off from spending money in general, Tanaka might still fit them.  Assuming that the total price for Tanaka will be as much as teams can fathom paying him (and that total years won’t be a big factor), the posting fee is part of Tanaka’s price — and so Tanaka’s salary may be a bit lower than it might have been if he were a true free agent. “ 

Very interesting and if you’re a Yankee fan, you just hope that we throw everything we have at this guy in hopes to lock him into a rotation consisting of CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Hiroki Kuroda and maybe Michael Pineda.  If we can, it’s a huge boost to the rotation.  If not, we have to think about guys like Vidal Nuno or David Phelps.  Plus, people have asked me why the hell we aren’t looking at a guy like Matt Garza who pitched well in the American League? Because everything is waiting on Tanaka.  Once we figure out who wins negotiating rights with him, then the other pitchers, Garza, Jimenez, Arroyo most likely will fall into place.

Stay tuned for anything Tanaka on Bleeding Yankee Blue. It's about to get nuts.

Tanaka Tour 2014...

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