Power Ranking The Finalists In Masahiro Tanaka Sweepstakes
Who Will Sign Masahiro Tanaka?
Coveted right-hander Masahiro Tanaka was finally posted, and now he is in the midst of a decision-making process to choose which MLB team to sign with after tearing up the NPB with the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Tanaka's posting fee is only $20 million, meaning that his team will receive considerably less than what teams received in the postings of Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka. So, expect a good number of teams to be involved in the bidding and based on his numbers, it's hard to see why any team wouldn't want him in their rotation. Tanaka finished the year with a 24-0 record, a 1.27 ERA and a 0.943 WHIP. He has the ceiling of a top-of-the-rotation arm based on quality alone.
The big question is which team has the best chances to land him?
Tanaka'a agent Casey Close already said that his client prefers to play in a big-market team, that he wants to win right now and that he is not afraid to pressure. Several teams could fit that description, but not all of them have the same chances of landing him. There are big market teams after him, others are going through rebuilding efforts, and some others are on the verge of contention, so Tanaka could be the piece needed to take the next step.
Without further ado, join me through this slideshow as I rank all the teams interested in Masahiro Tanaka based on their chances to sign the coveted free agent.
7. Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are interested in Tanaka, and they even held a meeting with his agent. However, it’s unlikely that they will convince him or shell out enough money to outbid other teams as the White Sox are just starting a rebuilding process.
6. Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels want starting pitching, and Tanaka is the best of the ones left on the market. However, since the Angels don’t have much money to play with, they don’t seem likely to meet the market demands. They might be better off going after guys like Matt Garza or Ubaldo Jimenez.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks are on the verge of contention and they need pitchers, so Tanaka could be the piece that puts them over the edge. That being said, they are a small-market team and they don’t seem to have enough money to outbid the teams that are ranked ahead of them on this list.
4. Seattle Mariners
The Seattle Mariners have money to spend but after making several moves, all the signings they can make right now need to be approved by the owner of the team. There’s no doubt that they can land him, and they already have a Japanese star in Hisashi Iwakuma that could help them convince Tanaka.
3. Chicago Cubs
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have constantly repeated that they have money to spend if the right player is available, and Tanaka seems to be a perfect match. Despite the fact that the Chicago Cubs are in the midst of a rebuilding effort, they are a big-market team and have been reportedly working on a nine-figure deal to convince Tanaka to sign with them.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers have more money than any team in MLB, but despite the reports indicating their interest Tanaka, the truth is that it depends on how the extension talks with Clayton Kershaw go.
1. New York Yankees
As things stand right now, the New York Yankees are the favorites to land Tanaka. The suspension given to Alex Rodriguez means that his hefty salary comes off the books for 2014 and with plenty of cash to play with, a glaring hole in the rotation and the attractiveness of the New York market, it seems highly unlikely that Tanaka will end up signing with any other team.