Thursday, December 5, 2013
Should Rangers go after Masahiro Tanaka?
By Richard Durrett
The answer, now that we know a little more about the posting system, is yes. According to The Japan Times, NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) and MLB have reached an agreement on a posting system that allows for a maximum posting bid of $20 million. If more than one team bids the maximum, the player posted would have the right to negotiate with all of those teams.
Masahiro Tanaka, who plays for the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles, is expected to be posted. And the new rules, assuming they are made official soon, would mean that more teams could jump in the fray for him. Only the team that eventually signs Tanaka would have to pay the posting fee.
So how does this apply to the Rangers? Well, if you're Texas, you might as well put in the $20 million bid. It took a bid of $51,703,411 to negotiate with Yu Darvish (if you'll remember the last four digits were the uniform numbers for Nolan Ryan and Darvish) and then another $56 million guaranteed (with another $4 million easily attainable if Darvish stays healthy) to sign him. It was an investment of $111 million to land the pitcher. But Darvish's portion is a little shy of $10 million per season. So if Tanaka gets something close -- or slightly above that -- the overall investment still wouldn't hit Darvish's number. That is, of course, as long as one team doesn't drive up the bidding.
It's still a large investment for the Rangers to make. But Tanaka is 25 years old and was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 28 starts this past season. This story, in the New York Daily News, describes Tanaka as someone who can touch 97 mph and that his fastball and splitter are his best pitches.
But if Tanaka gets to choose his next team, why not put in a bid and negotiate (and increase the club's starting pitching depth and open up even more options in terms of trade possibilities)? The Rangers have worked hard to scout Japan in recent years, and the signing of Darvish likely has Texas in Tanaka's mind at the very least. Perhaps it's all about taking the most money. But you don't know until you negotiate. So I'd expect to see a fair number of teams put in that max bid and see what happens. The Rangers should be among them.