According to Nikkan Sports, prized Japanese free agent Masahiro Tanaka received offers from five MLB teams during his visit to United States last week and is currently mulling over which contract to accept.
Aaron Steen of MLB Trade Rumors translated the original report and tells us the five teams involved are the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.
Certainly no surprises among the teams listed, but you'd think a few more teams would have thrown an offer out there just to cover their bases. The Los Angeles Angels were reported to be among Tanaka’s final three choices by another Japanese newspaper last weekend, but we’ve since heard owner Arte Moreno suggest his team would have trouble fitting Tanaka into its budget. Based on the latest report, it would appear they’ve moved on.
Two other notable teams missing also come from the AL West. Of course we're talking about the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Diamondbacks haven't backed down in their pursuit, reportedly offering six-years at $120 million. And the Chicago Cubs, who many owners believe are the front runners for Tanaka, may well have placed the offer to beat if the following report is confirmed.
Heard #Cubs offer for Tanaka in 160 mil neighborhood plus posting fee.
— TomLoxas (@TomLoxas) January 19, 2014
That would be over eight years, according to several other reports on Saturday night.
It would still feel like a major upset if another team outbid the Yankees or Dodgers to land Tanaka's services, but it's certainly not a foregone conclusion as many originally thought it would. Either way, it appears we've reached the point where all that remains is Tanaka's final decision.
The 25-year-old right-hander has until 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 24 to make it official.
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