The Masahiro Tanaka free agency period has its end date in sight. As part of the posting process, he will have to sign with his new team by sometime next week.
For all of the talk about teams like the Chicago White Sox or Houston Astros being legitimate contenders for Tanaka, it sounds like it is down to the two biggest markets in baseball for the Japanese free agent starting pitcher. From David Waldstein of the New York Times:
Consensus in Japan right now is that Yankees and Dodgers are favorites on Tanaka and word is his wife prefers to be on West Coast.
— David Waldstein (@DavidWaldstein) January 13, 2014
That confirms reports from the past few days about the input his wife might have in the decision. It also confirms the rather confusing fact that the Los Angeles Angels are no longer in the running for his services.
Besides having piles of money, the Yankees and the Dodgers are distinctly different suitors in this case. The Yankees are desperate, needing somebody to boost the top of their rotation with the uncertainty around C.C. Sabathia. The Dodgers, on the other hand, already have a loaded rotation. But you know what they say: why settle for a loaded rotation when you can have a more loaded rotation?
As for the teams who dropped off of Tanaka’s list, whether by their choice or his, they will likely swoop on free agents like Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Ervin Santana once Tanaka signs and sets the market for starting pitchers.