Friday, November 15, 2013
Hiro on hold: Tanaka sweepstakes hits snag
By Wallace Matthews
Will we have to wait two more years for the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes?
NEW YORK -- There was no guarantee the Yankees would have wound up with Masahiro Tanaka, the Japanese right-hander who went 24-0 for the Rakuten Golden Eagles this season, had they entered into a bidding war with what was sure to be a good number of suitors this winter. But now, it looks as though no major league team may wind up with the highly touted 25-year-old in 2014, now that talks between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball have hit an impasse over a new posting system.
But it has been no secret the Yankees were very interested in making a bid on the 25-year-old Tanaka, who was expected to command the kind of money that Yu Darvish received a couple of years ago. Even Derek Jeter, who generally pleads ignorance of players he hasn't seen personally, gave Tanaka an endorsement Thursday night at the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation dinner at Chelsea Piers.
"From what I understand, he is the real deal," said Jeter, who got the lowdown on Tanaka from his buddy and former teammate Andruw Jones, who played with Tanaka for Rakuten this season. "So of course, I would like to get as many good players as we can."
If MLB and NPB can't come to an agreement, Tanaka will have to pitch two more seasons in Japan before becoming eligible for free agency.