The courting process has begun for 25-year old Japanese starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka is being posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles and the pitcher is going from team to team in the Major Leagues before deciding on a team to negotiate a contract with.
Per the new agreement between MLB and NPB, the maximum posting fee a team can submit on a player is $20 million. Tanaka will certainly be worth the maximum fee. The fee of $20 million would go directly to the Golden Eagles as that would secure the right for the Major League Baseball team to negotiate a contract with Tanaka. Unlike before, the player has the right to decide what fee to accept. Meaning Tanaka will choose what team to negotiate with.
That would be why Tanaka will spend much of these next couple of weeks visiting with various Major League Baseball teams. While it is unclear if Tanaka has yet to visit with any Major League Baseball teams, it is clear that the Japanese ace will be meeting with the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox on the west coast this week.
The White Sox interest likely falls under the category of due diligence while the Cubs interest in Tanaka has been strong since this past summer.
The cost of Tanaka will likely be north of $12o million when you factor in the posting fee and the expected $100 million contract that the pitcher is expected to receive. The Cubs front office has been adamant that the team will not spend that type of money until the team is ready to contend.
The Cubs certainly are not in a position to contend as currently constructed but the addition of Tanaka would certainly accelerate the team’s competitive timeline. That would be why the Cubs are interested in spending over $1oo million in the process of acquiring Tanaka–a pitcher that already has over 1,300 innings of wear and tear on his arm. Nonetheless, Tanaka projects as a quality No.2 starting pitcher on a Major League Baseball team. With the Cubs lack of impact pitching, Tanaka may be the type of player that the team can not afford to pass up on.
Tanaka has until January 24 to make a decision.