It turns out Masahiro Tanaka will be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles after all, according to reports out of Japan. If true, any team in MLB will be able to bid on Tanaka if it is willing to put up the $20 million posting fee. Once the bidding begins, Tanaka will have 30 days to pick a team.
WHAT IT MEANS: It is a very Merry Christmas on 161st St. and River Avenue. While the Yankees are not guaranteed to land Tanaka, they intend to make a very strong push for him, sources have repeatedly told ESPNNewYork.com since the beginning of the offseason.
To get their man, the Yankees always have extra cash, the lure of their history and a chance to be in contention every year. Oh, and did I mention the extra cash?
PRESENTS FOR CHRISTMAS: The Yankees are going to be one of many teams that want Tanaka, who many see as a potential ace. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers are just some of the teams that could make a big run at Tanaka.
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YU: Tanaka, 25, is the best starting pitcher to come to the States since Yu Darvish. Can he be as good as Darvish? Some have him just a tick below Darvish’s level and more like a Kuroda.
To find out everything you would ever want to know and to get excited about Tanaka, read this commentary from Steve Wulf and Jason Coskrey.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: With Rakuten receiving only $20 million from the major league teams, Tanaka is expected to get something in the six-year, $100 million range.
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET: There was a feeling that Rakuten would not post Tanaka because the new system really hurt them. Before the current agreement was finally decided, the team would have received $50 million or more for the posting fee. Now, it will accept less than half of that. At one point, a lot of people -- including those with the Yankees -- didn’t think that would happen.
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MY TWO FRONT TEETH: For a long while, Hal Steinbrenner seemed to only want to be under $189 million by Christmas of 2013. Now, that is pretty much out the window. With or without Tanaka, the Yankees are not getting under that magic number if Alex Rodriguez does not remain suspended.
The $20 million posting fee will not count against the luxury tax, but with potentially a $16 million or $17 million annual average value, Tanaka will move the Yankees toward going over the magic number, even if A-Rod remains suspended.
If the Yankees don’t get under $189 million, they still have lowered payroll this offseason, which still may end up meaning tens of millions.
QUESTION: How much would you offer Tanaka?