We have reached the final hours of the great Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes. As our own Joe Jacquez wrote earlier, the Arizona Diamondbacks were one of five teams to submit formal offers to the 25-year old Tanaka. Some believe money will not be the only consideration as to where the Japanese righty will end up signing. Other factors will play into his thinking. One of those factors could be the relationship his agent, Casey Close has with players on the competing teams.
A lot has been made of the fact that Close also represents Derek Jeter and Clayton Kershaw, leading to speculation that the Yankees and the Dodgers would have the inside track. However, people forget that he also represents D’back second baseman Aaron Hill as well. He lives in Phoenix year-round and is involved in numerous efforts in the community. If there is a player that could really sway Tanaka into making a decision about what city to play in, who better than Hill? Given that Close represents three players from three different teams, you wonder if he is getting calls from his clients, imploring Tanaka to sign with their respective teams.
Is it possible that Aaron Hill was brought along with the D’back hierarchy to persuade Masahiro Tanaka to choose the Snakes? Even though the talks were shrouded in secrecy, a detail like that would have been made public. Here’s hoping if it’s remotely true, Hill did the sales job of his life.