For all reasonable intents and purposes, we have treated the race for Masahiro Tanaka to be down to just three teams: the Cubs, the Yankees, and the Dodgers. There are good reasons to believe that’s a reality, but it hasn’t strictly been the case, with the Diamondbacks and White Sox, at a minimum, having also made offers to Tanaka. There are also persisting whispers about the Mariners, Astros, and Angels.
Tanaka’s decision – and official signing – must be completed by Friday at 4pm CT. If the signing team wants time to have its own doctors give him a look, you’d think a decision would be needed at some point today, then some travel, then some doctoring tomorrow, and everything finalized on Friday.
If that’s to be how things proceed, we might start hearing about teams alerting the world that they’re out.
And so it is with the Diamondbacks, who have always wanted Tanaka, but are now out of the race, according to a source of Steve Gilbert’s. His source isn’t sure if that means Tanaka has selected his team, or if he’s going through a process of elimination. In either case, things are proceeding.
As for how the Diamondbacks proceed now in their pursuit of an elite starting pitcher, we may hear them connected to Jeff Samardzija trade rumors once again, after this all plays out. The Diamondbacks used up some of their trade chips earlier this Winter in the Mark Trumbo deal, but they still would have the pieces to get someone like Samardzija, if they wanted. I suspect they’ll prefer to go the free agent route to add additional pitching.