Star Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is, basically, the biggest free agent on the market. And what do we know about the Los Angeles Dodgers these days? Money isn't a problem.
If you didn't think the Dodgers were among the favorites to land Tanaka, you should now. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Dodgers will spare no expense to sign Tanaka, 25, who was 24-0 last season in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league with a 1.27 ERA.
The #Dodgers have let it be known they plan to go all-out in their efforts to sign Tanaka, saying they and certainly won't be out-bid.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 10, 2014
And it will be expensive. Tanaka comes with a $20 million posting fee that the winning team must pay to his NPB club, the Rakuten Eagles. Then there's Tanaka's contract, which experts believe will be at least $17 million per year and total more than $100 million.
The small posting fee — newly capped at $20 million, a minuscule amount compared to the $51.7 million the Texas Rangers paid to Yu Darvish's former club — will likely mean bigger dollars for Tanaka.
The Dodgers and Yankees were immediately the top suitors for Tanaka, simply because they spend the most money. But many other teams are in too, including the Chicago White Sox, who have already met with the pitcher and his reps.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported Thursday that Tanaka and his agent Casey Close are meeting with as many as six teams per day. The Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels have all been linked to Tanaka. Even the stingy Oakland Athletics have been mentioned as a dark-horse candidate for Tanaka's services.
Hope they're all checking their finances and deciding how much is too much for Tanaka, because it sounds like the Dodgers have no probably upping the ante.
- - - - - - -