tanaka3

I guess I’ve been covering this Masahiro Tanaka business quite a bit over the course of the off-season so far, which I’m not sure it is the best idea, given the way the whole Yu Darvish debacle went down. But while I don’t want to get my hopes up anywhere close to that much that the Jays might land him, Tanaka is just such a central figure in how this off-season is going to play out that whatever happens with him bears watching. And right now, that “whatever” doesn’t seem to be much…

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that MLB has undersold themselves on this one, and that having the top pitcher in Japan pitch for them for two extra years is worth $20-million (plus whatever Tanaka’s salary would be) to Rakuten, but… I still think he gets posted. (Passan also tweeted that Sasaki said it’s Tanaka’s dream to play in the United States, which probably isn’t going to get in the way of a pure business transaction, but you never know.)

I’m hopeful that he does, at least, because the market– and the Jays, in particular– could use another top-quality body for everyone to go drooling over. Not that they wouldn’t also be involved themselves, by the sounds of it, but more realistically, Tanaka would probably end up somewhere else, which would at least take that club out of the running for whoever remains on the market.

Justin Masterson and Jeff Samardzija are two of those names, of course, and the Jays certainly have interest there. But they’re hardly the only ones.

After blowing too much prospect capital in the acquisition– among others, of course– of Josh Johnson last winter, and seeing it work out so horrifically, I see why Alex Anthopoulos said earlier today that it’s “controllable” pitchers he’s most interested in, but man… Masterson sure would be a fantastic addition. More competion, though, is only going to drive the price up– meaning that having Tanaka gives the Jays just the slightest advantage.

They don’t need as much of an advantage when it comes to Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, though.

Hey, and at least there’s still a “long list of starters” out there to be considered, right???

So… there’s that.

Comments (25)

  1. It really makes no sense for Rakuten to post him. They can just post him again next year and will still easily pull in the $20M posting fee. Seems like a year of Tanaka + $20M is better than just the $20M.

    Tanaka would have to REALLY want to leave to overcome that benefit.

    • It sounds like he does

    • What really makes no sense is all these teams waiting for him(even teams like the jays who have no interest in a bidding war for his services). Dont understand how this one guy can hold up the whole pitching market. If he was proven, maybe, but the guy hasnt pitched a game in mlb! And he will cost probably close to $100m for his contract and posting fee.

    • That’s what I’ve been thinking. Why would any team post a star player before his last year with the team.

      Unless there was a serious fear of a decline so the player would no longer command the max posting fee. Or a ridiculous outlier year where they try to maximize the players value

      • The player can really force the issue. Tanaka could say post me or I sit out. Post me or I show up and play like shit. Post me or feign injury. Post me or go work at the Nike factory.

  2. I’m not sure about Masterson. He’s been up and down quite a bit the last 4 years even though his sabremetric numbers have stayed relatively consistent though in the off years they haven’t had him more than a back end starter.

    If you look at Ubaldo’s and Masterson’s numbers from last year they are very similar, and both have their pros and cons.

    Ubaldo would cost you a 2nd round pick, more cash, and longer commitment but no major prospects off your current roster. However, since you’re writing up his contract from scratch you could always backload and give the team some flexibility for another minor bench move. He’s also a bit riskier based on his recent performance. That said, does the magic weighted ball regiment get him back a mile or two on his fastball going forward?

    Masterson costs you who knows what in terms of prospects and you only get him for a year unless they Tribe gives you a negotiating window which would then probably cost you more in prospects. Then there’s his salary for this year.

    • +1

    • Agree. Masterton doesn’t seem like a fit at all. AA’s always wanted some degree of control over who he acquires, especially if he’s giving up an asset. Tough to imagine he’d use one of his trade chips (whatever they may be) on one year of Masteron.

  3. @bnicholsonsmith: Most #BlueJays have surfaced in trade talks. E.g. Anthopoulos all-but acknowledged that Mark Buehrle’s name has come up #MLB

    • NEWSFLASH: Pitching-starved teams ask about consistent left-handed starter signed to reasonable contract by free-agent standards. FILM AT 11!!

      • I could quibble with the reasonable bit, but otherwise yeah.

        Now, as I’ve said in the post above, if the Jays eat a bunch of money, making it look a whole lot more like a reasonable deal, they could probably get a decent piece back, and a bunch of financial flexibility.

  4. Shouldnt “on” not be capitalized in the title?

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