Let’s take a step back for a minute. Masahiro Tanaka‘s name has officially dominated all of the conversations about MLB free agency this year, and at times it might be tiresome. We essentially go team by team and try to figure out whether or not they might be suitors.
So when I say that we need to take a step back, I mean to say that let’s remember why Tanaka is such a key figure this off-season.
In Japan last year he went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA.
24-0! Whether you believe in pitcher’s wins as a meaningful stat or not, that should get your attention. Throw in the fact that he’s only 25 years old, and it is a huge deal that he’s coming to the big leagues. Even if his scouting reports don’t have the flourish of those for a guy like Yu Darvish, Tanaka is a potential top-of-the-rotation guy who is young, ready to sign a long-term deal, and he’s just available (the $20 million posting fee is hardly a hiccup for most teams). The whole situation is very rare.
It is with that long introduction, then, that we note that the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox are likely out on Tanaka according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe:
A major league source tells the Globe that while the Red Sox are impressed with the talents of RHP Masahiro Tanaka, they do not expect to be contenders for his services.
All 30 major league teams were notified that the 30-day period to sign the 25-year-old began at 8 a.m. on Thursday. Clubs have until 5 p.m. on Jan. 24 to reach an agreement.”
The Red Sox surprised the baseball world in so many ways last season, their starting rotation among them. They will proceed with the same group and let another team pay big for Tanaka.