Sep 27, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Fireworks explode over the left field stands of Safeco Field concluding fan appreciation night against the Oakland Athletics. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

MLB rumors: Mariners to be Yankees toughest competition for Masahiro Tanaka?

On Thursday afternoon, Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanka was posted to Major League Baseball, making him a free agent.

That of course intrigued just about every team in the league, but only a select handful can afford the ludicrous contract Tanaka is set to receive – even fewer have a chance to sign him since Tanaka is only interested in playing for a small handful of teams.

In the past couple of weeks, rumors have suggested that the New York Yankees (obvious fit) and Los Angeles Dodgers were two of the favorites for Tanaka’s services but according to the New York Daily News, the Seattle Mariners could emerge as the Yankees biggest threat to sign the Japanese right-hander.

“The Mariners are going to be a factor,” one baseball official said. “They have a following in Japan. They enjoyed what they had when Ichiro (Suzuki) was on the team.

“They want the chance for moves like getting Cano to pay off. And they envision (Felix ) Hernandez paired with Tanaka at the top of the rotation.”

Seattle has went all in this offseason with the signing of Robinson Cano so it wouldn’t be overly outlandish to think they could sign Tanaka, especially given the Japanese ties to the team.

Teams have 30-days to sign the starting pitcher, who is reportedly expected to receive a deal that would pay him at least $17 million annually.

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka New York Yankees Seattle Mariners

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