The Rakuten Golden Eagles announced yesterday (well, overnight to us in the States) at a press conference, per ESPN, that they will allow 25-year-old ace Masahiro Tanaka to come to MLB via the posting system.
Once Tanaka is formally posted, which could occur today/tomorrow/Friday, Rakuten will place a “transfer fee” on him, up to a maximum of $20 million (it will be $20 million). Any MLB team willing to pay the fee to secure his rights will be permitted to negotiate with him over the ensuing 30 days to try to reach an agreement.
In effect, Tanaka will be a free agent who comes with a $20 million tax. Teams far and wide will try to woo him (he’s going to be doing some serious traveling and pitch-watching), and the Chicago Cubs are expected to be heavily involved.
Will the Cubs’ front office have enough money available to meet or exceed the top bidders? Will Tanaka have interest in coming to a rebuilding team in a non-coastal city? Do the Cubs’ scouts like Tanaka as much as we’ve been led to believe? Will the Cubs shop Jeff Samardzija more aggressively once Tanaka is signed? But what if he signs with the Cubs?
We’ll likely find that all out over the course of the next 30-ish days. Away we go …