According to MLB Trade Rumors, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he and the front office have been scouting Tanaka for nearly seven years, starting back in 2007.
“We started evaluating him back in 2007, certainly paying close attention to him in the ’09 [World Baseball Classic]. This year we went to 15 of his games including the WBC and we sent a scout to evaluate him in the playoffs as well. We made a determined effort to know as much as we possibly could.”
Tanaka is 25 years old which means New York would have been toying with the idea of signing Tanaka (assuming he ever came up for bid) since he was 18 years old.
That’s not to say other teams haven’t been scouting Tanaka just as long, but seven years is a long time to wait for a player potentially out of your reach. Thankfully Tanaka was posted and the Yankees weren’t going to miss their lone chance to secure a talent who they put seven years of scouting into.