It will take a bunch of money, but no team can reasonably be counted out of the bidding for Japanese free agent starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
Luke Stuckmeyer of Comcast Sportsnet reports that Tanaka will meet with the two last place teams from the central divisions, the Cubs and the White Sox, in Chicago this week.
— Luke Stuckmeyer (@LukeStuckmeyer) January 7, 2014
Tonight’s report coincides with an interesting bit of information from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports about the $20 million posting fee that the winning team will have to pay.
Interesting tidbit on new posting system: Per sources, the $20M fee will be paid in two installments – $13M the first year, $7M the second.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 8, 2014
That ability to defer $7 million to the second year will free up some teams to be more aggressive of their pursuit of Tanaka. As it is, the new posting system has allowed more teams into the running. Dan Hayes of Comcast Sportsnet writes that is the case for the White Sox:
No matter how big or small it may be, the White Sox interest in Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka can be attributed to the new posting system…
Under the new system, which has since been agreed to, any team that would pay the $20 million posting fee to Tanaka’s former club has the right to negotiate a deal within a 30-day window…In the past, teams bid without a cap for the right to negotiate…
The rumors about Tanaka have been numerous, but in this case he is actually meeting with two teams, which means there’s at least a little something to see here.