In an article posted on Sunday, Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo speculates on some of the teams who could be in on the bidding for Masahiro Tanaka.
The Yankees, Cubs, Rangers, and Dodgers should be the most aggressive. The Angels, Phillies, Royals, and Blue Jays will get into it.
This is strange. Seriously. One of these teams is not like the other.
By my understanding, the old posting system has gone away. There is no "bid" for $20 million to be made. It's simply an understanding that if you seek to negotiate with a player from Japan who has been posted, and are successful, you will pay his old team the $20 million. Basically, Tanaka is a free agent, allowed to negotiate with any of the 30 MLB clubs.
In a FanShot posted last week, JerryMander had an interesting screen grab of a poll being run at ESPN asking if fans want their favorite team to sign Tanaka. For some reason Missouri was the lone holdout. At the time of the screen grab, the yays were leading the nays 71 to 29 percent. In JerryMander's own poll posted in the FanShot, readers of RR were in favor of signing Tanaka by a margin of 79 to 21 percent.
Hell, under the new system, any team could - and should - be interested in Tanaka. At least give his agent a call and kick the proverbial tires. But I suspect this would be not unlike the recently completed Robinson Cano sweepstakes: Teams call the agent. The agent provides a number. The number is large. Teams thank the agent for his time. Wait for Tanaka to sign with another team. Call the agents for Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana and Matt Garza.
In my mind the two players are the Yankees and the Dodgers. They are the ones with an endless vein of cash. Tanaka can play on the West Coast or he can head to the media capital of the world. Either way, he's going to get an enormous amount of exposure. Teams like the Royals and the Twins can posture all they want, but come on... A massive star from Japan isn't going to make the move to North America so he can play in Kansas City.
I have never been one of those fans who gets all excited when the Royals get what you would term as "national recognition." Being a top play on ESPN doesn't mean anything. Nor does any number of the forthcoming articles from the Morosis of the professional writing world touting the Royals as the next big thing. But the Cafardo article did catch my attention. If only because as I mentioned above, the Royals seem the odd team in that mix. I wonder where Cafardo got his information. Writers like Cafardo don't just throw teams out there, hoping one sticks. Sure there are the usual suspects, but someone told him they expected the Royals to be players. My takeaway: The Royals are still in the market for starting pitching. We know Tanaka is the clog in the starting pitching free agent drain. Once he signs, the rest of the dominoes fall.
It makes sense. While Jason Vargas signed a long-term free agent contract, the Royals know he's not a true replacement for what Ervin Santana gave them last year. With the bullseye firmly on 2014 (ALL IN!) Dayton Moore can't go into the season without one other arm for his rotation. Tanaka is a long shot (more like no shot) so the Royals are simply jockeying for position for the remainders.
Maybe Moore isn't done with his off season moves just yet.