Even with Hiroki Kuroda back in the fold for another season, the Yankees desperately wanted to sign Tanaka and put him atop of their starting rotation that has a lot of question marks surrounding it.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, his current Japanese team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles will not be posting Tanaka to Major League Baseball this winter, as they will be offering him a contract in the range of $800 million yen ($7.7 million American money), and thus, ending the Yankees efforts to acquire the 24-year old right-handed star, as Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York reported on Thursday.
"Although they have yet to be officially notified by the Rakuten Golden Eagles that Masahiro Tanaka will not be released to enter Major League Baseball’s posting system, the New York Yankees are moving forward with plans to shore up their starting rotation minus the Japanese star right-hander. A baseball source told ESPNNewYork.com the Yankees have yet to be told that Tanaka will not be posted — The New York Times, which first reported the story, cited Japanese newspaper reports that claimed Tanaka will be informed by Rakuten officials on Friday of their decision — but the club is operating under the assumption he will not be available."
Tanaka was supposed to be the prize of the free agent market after pitching Rakuten to the Japanese championship this season after posting a 24-0 record with a 1.73 ERA; numbers that caught the attention of everyone around baseball. Along with the Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks were some of the other teams that were supposed to make bids to land Tanaka as well.
For the meantime, the Yankees will either try to make a deal to acquire a starter; such as Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds or Jeff Samardzija of the Chicago Cubs; or they can fill the other two holes in the starting rotation from within with the likes of Michael Pineda, David Phelps, Adam Warren or Vidal Nuno.
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