The New York Yankees remain front runners, as the need for starting pitching remains. With the departure of Andy Pettite, and as C.C. Sabathia appears to be on the decline, the Yankees’ need for someone to help anchor their rotation is now, more than ever, apparent. In the article, Mittler cites Jim Bowden as saying that the much ballyhooed mantra of the team staying below the $189 million payroll is more a goal than it is a standard. Bowden has also been noted to say that the Yankees should blow the payroll out of the water if they are indeed going to go above it.
The next nearest competition will come from the Los Angeles Dodgers, not only because of payroll, but because Tanaka has stated his desire to pitch in California. The fact that Casey Close represents Tanaka doesn’t hurt; Close also represents the one and two of the Dodgers’ pitching rotation – Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
The Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, and Seattle Mariners also figure to be major players in the Tanaka sweepstakes as each looks to one up each other in the AL West. The Atlanta Braves are also looking for an elite-level starter, while the Arizona Diamondbacks have frequently gone on record as saying that the Japanese sinker-baller is their top priority.