The hottest commodity on the market right now is in the middle of meetings that will determine where he pitches in 2014 and beyond. Thanks to months and months of buildup, it almost feels … false. Like the process isn’t really unfolding right now, it’s just more buildup. But, yeah, it’s really happening right now. Masahiro Tanaka is meeting with teams, and will sign within two weeks.
- Although reports say Tanaka and his agent are hoping to keep this week’s meetings very hush-hush, the White Sox confirmed to the Tribune that they met with Tanaka and Casey Close in Los Angeles. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, manager Robin Ventura, and vice-president Ken Williams participated in the meeting. The Cubs, however, have not confirmed a meeting.
- The Dodgers presumably have met or will meet with Tanaka while he’s in Los Angeles, but GM Ned Colletti says things are still in the “feeling out” stage (ESPN). Team CEO Stan Kasten tempered enthusiasm about the Dodgers actually landing Tanaka when asked, saying that he wouldn’t predict it. How much that actually means … eh. I still expect the Dodgers to be heavily involved. (UPDATE: And right on cue, the Dodgers will come out blasting.)
- Jesse Rogers’ take on the Cubs/Tanaka situation, noting that officials had privately expressed more optimism about getting Tanaka under the old, blind-bid-one-winner posting system. Now the Cubs have to pay at the top of the market, and convince Tanaka that coming to the Cubs is a good decision based on The Plan, I guess.
- A scout tells Dave Kaplan that he thinks that Tanaka will come down to the Blue Jays, Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers, Angels and Cubs. (No Mariners?) The scout added that the final commitment could be upwards of $175 million.
- Ken Rosenthal suggests that Tanaka’s agent could request an opt-out be build into the final deal – that agent, Casey Close, also represents Zack Greinke, who got an opt-out after three years in his Dodgers deal. Obviously you have to do what you have to do to sign a guy if other teams are right there in the bidding, but I really, really hate opt-outs for teams. By agreeing to let a guy opt out of his, say, six-year deal after three years, you’ve effectively given him a three-year deal with a three-year player option. The team retains all of the downside (if the guy gets hurt or sucks, they’re on the hook for all six years) without much of the upside (if the guy’s great, you lose him after three years).
- The posting fee – for Tanaka or any other NPB player – will be paid out in four installments over the course of two years, lessening the burden on smaller market teams. That’s not likely to matter in the Tanaka situation.