Good morning early birds – news out of Japan tends to break very early around these parts, given the whole other-side-of-the-world thing.
According to multiple Stateside reports, there are multiple reports in Japan indicating the Rakuten Golden Eagles have decided they will not post 25-year-old ace Masahiro Tanaka after all, and will instead pay him $8 to $12 million in 2014 to try and placate him for preventing what he has publicly said he would like (i.e., the opportunity to come to the States, compete in MLB, and make 10 times that amount). Examples of the Stateside reports are here in the New York Times, or here from Peter Gammons. Everyone else appears to be regurgitating those reports (which are reports of reports without links. Come on, People of the Internet Age.)
I’m not saying they’re not right, but I’m still waiting for someone to actually link to these multiple reports out of Japan so we can see the precise language used. Of course, the layer of translation adds a problem, so, at some level, you’ve just got to take someone’s word for it. Rakuten was pissed about the $20 million maximum put in place in the new MLB/NPB posting agreement, so this may be their middle finger to both leagues. And it’s their choice, after all.
We’ll see what happens this week. I’m not convinced that this saga is over, given all of the twists and turns. Once it’s all settled, and whether he’s coming or not is perfectly clear, we’ll dig into the implications for the market (other free agents, Jeff Samardzija, 2015 plans, etc.).
UPDATE: I’ve been a busybody all morning trying to track down the ACTUAL multiple Japanese reports that say Rakuten has decided not to post Tanaka, and I’m not having any luck. This is why I used the chastising language I used in the first place. I’m not saying the NTY or Gammons or any of the dozens of mainstream outlets that have run with this story are wrong, but they have absolutely proceeded incorrectly in this story. If you’re going to curate/aggregate reports from someone else, note the name of the publication or writer, and provide a link. Bloggers don’t do everything well, but this is one area that we’ve got down. Providing links is fair, ethical, and kind … and it’s also the most helpful thing for an industrious reader who wants to investigate for himself. Now I’m left wondering whether that NYT piece is actually misinterpreting a Japanese report that said Rakuten is going to try an entice Tanaka to stay (which is the only report I can find – and Yaku Night Owl seems to agree). And then everyone else ran with it, because, hey, it’s the NYT, instead of asking these fundamental questions.
Stepping off of my soapbox – we’ll see what happens. I suspect we’ll learn more as the day goes on.