One of the most interesting developments of this off-season has had to do with Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. If his Japanese team posts him, he will be the coveted starting pitcher target in free agency, even with big names like Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Matt Garza on the market. And it sounds like those guys are all going to have to wait for Tanaka.
The Tanaka decision has put free agent pitchers Matt Garza, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez on hold. It has slowed down what trade markets existed for David Price and Jeff Samardzija. But when a New York newspaper headline reads ‘Tanaka a Must for the Yankees,’ one can understand why the Rakuten Golden Eagles’ offer to up his salary to $12M is something less than what he could earn in the South Bronx.
They are all probably decent guys and wouldn’t wish ill on another pitcher, but free agents like Santana, Jimenez, and Garza have to be hoping a little that the Golden Eagles force Tanaka to stay. The ensuing urgency from teams like the Yankees would likely be their best shot to land a big contract and, in the cases of Santana and Jimenez, get a team to give up a draft pick for their services.
Starting pitching is the currency of Major League Baseball, and there will surely be significant action on that front. But none of it will go into motion until after we know what will happen with Tanaka.
Tags: Masahiro Tanaka