Without a doubt, the top prize among free agent pitchers this offseason will be Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka. The ownership of his team, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles will allow Tanaka to be posted and come to Major League Baseball if he so desires according to Dylan Hernandez at the Los Angles Times via David Brown at Yahoo Sports. Since we know the 25 year old right-hander wishes to test his skills in MLB, teams will have to pay a posting fee of $20 million dollars just to negotiate a contract within 30 days. If an agreement is not reached, the team receives their money back.
Why is $20 million dollars important? That is the maximum fee agreed upon by MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball. No team will have to pay more than that for the right to negotiate with Tanaka. That is important for an interested team such as the Arizona Diamondbacks who can now bid against teams like the New York Yankees without having the posting fee inflated. It is clear that D’backs GM Kevin Towers has targeted Tanaka as his number one free agent pitching priority as has several other teams, including the Yankees. Tanaka appears to be the only pitcher that Towers would be willing to offer a four or five year deal to given his age. The capped fee allows the D’backs to actually get into a real, live bidding war over a coveted free agent.
Kevin Towers is going all in for Masahiro Tanaka. Can the D’backs be the team that lands him?