Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka #17 of Japan pitches during the World Baseball Classic. He has been posted to the MLB by his home team, Rakuten.
Masahiro Tanaka is in America, and Major League Baseball teams are salivating at the chance to add him to their pitching rotation. In the next two weeks the premier pitching talent on the market will have a new home, but where he will end up is a complete mystery at this point.
The highly coveted Japanese pitcher had a physical in Los Angeles on Thursday, the results of which will be shared with all teams looking to place a bid in the coming weeks. The Dodgers are one of those teams.
Ned Colletti told reporters on Tuesday that he has been in contact with Casey Close, Tanaka's agent, but would not divulge much information. The entire process has been very hush-hush with most teams keeping the talks to themselves.
A quick online search has speculative reports from media for about half of the teams in the league, and rumors galore about who the "favorite" is to secure the Japanese righty.
At this point the New York Yankees are sure to sign him. That is unless the league's newest free-spending club, the Seattle Mariners, make a run at him. Then again, the Chicago Cubs have been reported as being the club that will not be outbid. And do not forget about our Los Angeles Dodgers who will throw money at him until he agrees.
There has not been this much demand for a single player in quite some time.
Maybe I am biased based off of recent history, but it is hard to not see him ending up with the Dodgers. It just seems like they can get whatever they want nowadays with their endless payroll.
Their starting rotation is already oozing with talent, but adding Tanaka will put the first-rate pitching staff over the top. The only thing holding them back could be the looming extensions to Clayton Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez.
What makes the Tanaka news so appealing on a nation-wide basis is that it applies to every team in the league. Any team can talk to the pitcher without any commitments. The only condition is that whoever comes to an agreement with him will have to cough up $20 million to his Japanese team Rakuten.
So here we are, a little less than two weeks from Tanaka's posting expiration. He is in America, communicating with ball clubs. Now we just wait and see what city becomes his new home.