The Arizona Diamondbacks have been aggressive in their pursuit of Japanese free agent Masahiro Tanaka from the start. Unfortunately for them, they have not be able to outdo the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, or even the Chicago Cubs in terms of holding the attention of the sweepstakes or gaining any traction.
The Dodgers have a big market and a bottomless pool of money (though ownership would have to sign off on the deal). The Yankees have an even bigger market. The Cubs are said to be willing to blow the other teams’ offers “out of the water.” The Diamondbacks? They have made a competitive offer (six years and more than $115 million) and figure to be a decent team, but what else goes in their favor?
Nick Piecoro of azcentral.com writes that the lack of fanfare in the Tanaka negotiation process might stand to benefit a team like the Diamondbacks:
Start with the way these negotiations have played out. Everything behind the scenes. No big tour of the ballparks. No photo ops. Nothing to raise his profile. This could be a good indication for the Diamondbacks.
“Compared to Los Angeles, New York or Chicago, Phoenix is downtempo. The city isn’t as bustling. The fans aren’t as intense. If Tanaka and his wife, pop star Mai Satoda, wanted to enjoy a quiet night out, they probably wouldn’t have much trouble doing that here. Or, if they’re thinking of starting a family, they might appreciate the extra six weeks at home every year that spring training provides.”
Money will obviously play a role here, but as Piecoro notes, how much Tanaka wants to be in the spotlight will matter as well.