Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is set to be posted for Major League Baseball teams to bid on soon. And according to reports, the 25-year-old could get more than $100 million from the big league team that signs him.
Tanaka could be the best pitcher to ever come from Japan to the big leagues. Last season with the Rakuten Eagles he went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA. The Eagles tried to convince Tanaka to stay for another year, but he has made it known that he wants to pitch in America during the 2014 season.
Baseball’s new posting system has a maximum bid of $20 million, and any team that bids that much is guaranteed a chance to negotiate with the posted player. The player would then engaged in talks with all of those teams and decide where he wanted to play.
Based on how good Tanaka is, it would be a shock if the number of teams that bid the maximum $20 million doesn’t reach double digits.
When the negotiation phase kicks in, teams will be fighting with each other to pitch Tanaka on the best contract and situation for him to move into. Several general managers are convinced that will cause his price tag to climb above the $100 million mark.
Big money teams like the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers have all been doing their due diligence on Tanaka. The Yankees have also decided to plug the other needs on their roster with cheaper options like Brian Roberts and Matt Thornton so far this offseason. That apparently has been done in a concerted effort to leave some money open for Tanaka.
Tanaka will almost surely be in the big leagues in 2014. If he does make that move, he’ll likely wind up a very rich man before he even throws a pitch for a major league team.