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New York Yankees Begin Pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka; Contact His Agent to Talk Deal

December 27th, 2013 at 5:09 PM
By Douglas Rush

It's no secret that the New York Yankees would love to acquire Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and put him atop of their starting rotation.

On Christmas Eve, it was announced that Tanaka's current team in Japan, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, would post him to the Major Leagues and allow him to play in the United States in 2014.

With the new posting system that Major League Baseball and Japanese baseball agreed upon, the maximum bid a team can offer is $20 million and then the player being bid on can choose his next team, whereas in the past, whoever posted the highest bid won the right to negotiate with the player, but with the new rules, it gives Tanaka the chance to choose his team like any other free agent in the sport.

On Thursday, Marc Carig of Newsday reported that the Yankees got in contact with Tanaka and his newly signed agent, Casey Close to talk about a potential deal, which could get up to as much as $100 million.

"On the first day that major-league teams were allowed to begin negotiations with the Japanese pitching star, an industry source said Thursday that the Yankees already have been in contact with Casey Close, whom Tanaka recently designated as his agent. Close is Derek Jeter's longtime agent."

Like Carig reported, Tanaka's agent is Casey Close, who is also the long-time agent for current Yankees shortstop and captain Derek Jeter, something that could help up helping the team in their pursuit of the pitcher.

The 25-year-old will be the most sought-after pitcher on the market with him being posted, especially after he went 24-0 with a 1.73 ERA and helped the Rakuten Golden Eagles win a championship this past season. The Yankees had been hesitant in the past to pursue other pitchers and players from Japan especially after the failures that they dealt with in Kei Igawa back in 2007 and ended up passing on Yu Darvish almost two years ago.

But the Yankees have been very much engaged and interested in trying to land Tanaka from the get-go and have not been interested in other pitchers like Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana and Matt Garza because they have been highly interested and dedicated in trying to land the Japanese right-hander and will face some serious competition from teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers for his services.

However, many believe that because the Yankees are willing to go as much as $100 million for a contract and are willing to exceed their self-mandated $189 million payroll goal in order to land Tanaka, there is a very good chance that the Yankees will be the team that ends up landing him this coming winter.

Photo credit: Takuro K. via Flickr

Tags: Baseball, Masahiro Tanaka, MLB, New York, New York Yankees, Rakuten Golden Eagles

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