Yanks confident in Kuroda; Tanaka in limbo

December, 5, 2013
12/05/13
6:17
PM ET
The Yankees are feeling reasonably confident that Hiroki Kuroda will be back in the fold, while they, like everyone else in baseball, have no idea what is going to happen with Masahiro Tanaka.

The Yankees have extended an offer to Kuroda in the $15 million to $17 million range. Yankees GM Brian Cashman indicated Kuroda is leaning toward playing in the Bronx.

“All indications are he is definitely interested in coming back to the Yankees,” Cashman said. “That’s the indication, but there’s no guarantee.”

Meanwhile, the posting system that MLB and the Japanese league are trying to finalize hurts the Yankees and Tanaka’s current club, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, putting major obstacles between the Yankees and their desire for the young righty. The new posting team will max out the highest bids at $20 million. If more than one team bids $20 million, then the player will become like a normal free agent, just with a surtax.

This hurts the Yankees, if they stick to the $189 million goal, because Tanaka will be able to sign a much higher contract because more than one team will surely put in the $20 million bid. Only the team that secures the player has to pay the posting fee. The fee does not count against the luxury tax.

Under the old agreement, teams could spend any amount in the bid for the rights to the player. That money also did not count against the luxury tax. Since only one team would win the auction, the player would have less leverage and would have to agree to a less favorable contract.

Now, the teams will take in less, but the player will earn more. That is if the player is posted at all. From< a href="http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/10084018/masahiro-tanaka-not-made-available-mlb-teams-rakuten-golden-eagles">Jerry Crasnick's story:

Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka's baseball future was thrown into flux Thursday when the president of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles told a newspaper that the team might not make the prized starter available to major league teams as a free agent this winter.

Yozo Tachibana told Sponichi that the Golden Eagles might refrain from making Tanaka available through the posting process. Under a proposed system, major league teams would submit maximum bids of $20 million for rights to negotiate with Tanaka, and Tanaka would be free to sign with the club of his choosing among those that meet the threshold.

Previously, major league teams would submit bids and the club with the highest offer would receive exclusive rights to negotiate with the player.


So the Yankees might have one potential starter coming back -- and one who is in limbo.
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146