Dec 11, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Rakuten Golden Eagles president Yozo Tachibana (right) walks through the lobby during the MLB Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Tachibana has not decided whether or not to allowMasahiro Tanaka
(not pictured) to sign with a MLB team now that Nippon Professional Baseball and the MLB have agreed on a $20 Million maximum posting bid. Mandatory Credit:David Manning
-USA TODAY Sports
The drama that has been around Masahiro Tanaka is finally almost over. For weeks now it has been an up and down roller coaster with him to the point where he’s held some clubs hostage with their offseason plans. The president of the Rakuten Golden Eagles has said at one point that he would not be posted, but the door was left open for a final decision. Finally, on Christmas Eve it was official that Tanaka will start the 30 day bidding war to bring him to the majors.
Will the Texas Rangers make a play for Masahiro Tanaka? My opinion is they should and they probably will. But first, how does this work?
Earlier in December, MLB worked with the NPB, Nippon Professional Baseball, to change the method clubs will make posting arrangements for players coming over from Japan. The new agreement makes it easier for players to play in the majors. The posting system works by allowing NPB teams to post a player to allow MLB teams to bid for them. This posting allows players to move before they hit free agency. NPB requires players play 9 seasons before they are allowed to hit free agency. This posting system allows them to make a move to the majors sooner than that.
Once the player is posted, the NPB team can set a fixed price up to $20 million for the negotiation rights for that player. Now any MLB team that is wanting to negotiate with that player just has to be pay that price and has 30-days to come to an agreement with that player. Under this method, several teams will be able to offer up the $20 million and try to convince Tanaka to join their club.
Now it is easy to see how the bidding war will begin for Masahiro Tanaka services in the US.
Should the Texas Rangers try to sign Tanaka? Is he any good?
Tanaka is as good as they come. Last season for the Golden Eagles, he had a record of 24-0 with an ERA of 1.27. He helped lead the Golden Eagles to a championship this past season. In comparison, it is just as good as the current Texas Ranger ace pitcher, Yu Darvish.
So we’ve established is the fact that Tanaka is a solid pitcher and would add to any clubs another sure ace in their starting rotation. But should the Rangers try to sign him. I still say yes.
Mainly because the Texas Rangers 2014 starting rotation is a bit suspect. They will have their ace Yu Darvish returning next year. I fully expect him to again shine and produce great numbers next year. Also, Derek Holland and Martin Perez will do very well.
But there are a few question marks. Where do Alexi Ogando and Nicholas Tepesch fit in? Also, what about the condition of Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis? My guess is that Ogando will be moved to the bullpen. I’m optimistic about Harrison, but not so much on Lewis.
That leaves a starting rotation of Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Martin Perez, Nick Tepesch and Matt Harrison.
The Texas Rangers really could use Tanaka to finish out the rotation. Being 25, Tanaka could be in that rotation for several years to come.
But will they make a hard play for Tanaka? I would say it will be a good effort, but with the Yankees going in for him, it might be a high bidding war that Jon Daniels just can win. He did pull a rabbit out of the hat and managed to pull out Choo, can he do it again?
Hopefully he will, at least now, we won’t have too long to wait. At the end of the 30 day period, we’ll all know where Masahiro Tanaka end up. Maybe it is with Yankees, maybe it is with the Rangers.
To give you an idea of what it may cost, here are some past players that have been posted. (FROM AZ Snake Pit- Jim McLennan)
- Yu Darvish (2012) – $56 million six-year contract, $51.1 million posting fee = $107.1 million total.
- Hiroki Kuroda (2008) – $35.3 million, three-year contract, no posting fee (free agent)
- Daisuke Matsuzaka (2007) – $52 million six-year contract, $51.1 million posting fee = $103.1 million total
- Hideki Matsui (2003) – $21 million, three-year contract, no posting fee (free agent)
- Ichiro Suzuki (2001) – $14 million, three-year contract, $13 million posting fee = $27 million total.
Do they Rangers have the cash to do? At this point, yes the might.
Here’s a look at the Opening Day payrolls over the last five years plus Christmas Day’s current estimation (Bleacher Report-Jeffery Kahn)
- Christmas Day $118 million
- 2013 $127 million
- 2012 $120 million
- 2011 $92 million
- 2010 $55 million
- 2009 $68 million
That does make it seem likely that Jon Daniels does have some extra cash in his piggy back, but will he do it? One thing for sure, he won’t tell you until it is done. He wouldn’t tip his hand at all before the Choo signing.
So the $118 million is a little below what they will ended up with on opening day. Evan Grant quoted JD with the following.
"General manager Jon Daniels said Thursday that he expected the 2014 payroll to be in a “similar range, but a little below,” the 2013 figure. The Rangers spent approximately $125.3 million on payroll in 2013, eclipsing the previous high total of $120 million last year. (Dallas news)"
So there should be some optimism here, but don’t be disappointed. Daniels has done a lot to add more talent to the team. He’s improved the team already, but I’m sure I’m with everyone here on this…sign Masahiro Tanaka, finish off that last check mark on the to do list, make the starting rotation better. Get to the playoffs in 2014..and WTDWS.