It had seemed like the New York Yankees were going to have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for starting pitching options due to Masahiro Tanaka possibly not getting posted and allowed to come to the United States.
But low and behold, a Christmas miracle. Tanaka's team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, will in fact post Tanaka, as Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported late Tuesday night on Christmas Eve when Tanaka returned back to Japan to make his decision.
"Rakuten's decision to post Masahiro Tanaka was announced by team president Yozo Tachibana," he tweeted.
The New York Yankees have strongly coveted Tanaka from the outset and avoided free agents like Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza, Ervin Santana and Bronson Arroyo because of their tremendous interest and desire to land the 24-year-old once he got posted.
Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.73 ERA for Rakuten and helped them win the Japanese baseball championship this past year and his success, plus his age and ability made him one of the top free agent targets this winter and because of the Yankees much need for pitching, especially with the retirement of Andy Pettitte, Tanaka became a priority from Day 1.
With the new posting rules for Japanese players, all teams will get to bid $20 million and then Tanaka will get the right to choose who he wants to pitch for next season, as opposed to the old rules whereas whoever had the highest bid won the exclusive rights to negotiate with that said player. In the past, the Yankees had bid on and lost out on Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish, but some feel that the Yankees shouldn't lose out on Tanaka because they are willing to spend whatever it took to land him.
Along with the Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs will be the strongest bidders as well for Tanaka, but again, with the new posting rules for players which went into effect this past month, it will be up to Tanaka as far as where he will want to call home in the United States and the lure of pitching in New York in a media-friendly place that will attract him a lot of attention, like it did to Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki, could be a strong pulling point for Tanaka.
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