Masahiro Tanaka is a player who has been widely discussed over the past several months as the next big superstar to join Major League Baseball from Japan. Early reports after the season ended indicated that the New York Yankees were the team to beat when it comes to bidding on Tanaka. The Chicago Cubs have since taken on that role.
On Thursday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Cubs were “pushing hard” for Tanaka to beat out other interested teams that include the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. ESPN’s Jayson Stark took it a step further later on Thursday.
In non-replay news, amazing how many owners in Ariz. were convinced #Cubs are ready to blow away the field & sign Tanaka to a monster deal.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) January 17, 2014
Tanaka was dominant last season in Japan, posting a 24-0 record and a 1.27 ERA with the Rakuten Golden Eagles. The posting fee for his services was initially expected to be in the $75 million range (50% more than the Boston Red Sox paid for Daisuke Matsuzaka and Texas Rangers paid for Yu Darvish), but a recent deal reached between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball has capped that number at $20 million.
The common belief is that Tanaka will sign a contract that is somewhere around the $120 to $140 million range, meaning he could cost a team around $150 or $160 million when you factor in the posting fee. The team that shells the money out can only hope his effectiveness is comparable to Darvish, not Matsuzaka
H/T Hardball Talk