I’m a few hours late on this one, for obvious reasons, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t make a quick post about the off-season having finally, finally turned the long corner towards spring with the world coming tonight that Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka will indeed be posted, and free to sign with any Major League club, provided they pay the Rakuten Golden Eagles a fee of $20-million. The news team here at theScore has all the details you’ll need.

The Jays will be hard pressed to land the free agent market’s best available pitcher– though I wouldn’t necessarily rule them out, if only because so many other teams have already spent themselves out of the market for pitching– but this obviously has greater implications than the landing spot of this one man. Alex Anthopoulos continues to need to find as much of a starting pitching upgrade as he can, and with clarity in Tanaka’s situation, movement may soon be afoot when it comes to Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza, and Ervin Santana. Clubs’ seriousness about those pitchers will take shape as suitors drop out of the running for Tanaka, and while the agents for the trio of alternatives may wait until the bitter end of that process in order to maximize the number of teams bidding for their clients, we can at the very least now see the finish line on the horizon.

The Jays may not be able to land any of these guys, but they certainly have a better chance to do so with four of them available than with three. They also, perhaps quite wisely, kept all of their other trade chips this winter, which will allow them to try to use the trade market in order to acquire a big arm as well– either as an alternative to a free agent market they find themselves getting priced out on, or perhaps even as their primary target, should the bidding war on the trade market slow down as other clubs get wrapped up with free agents and, ultimately, find their options filled.

Anthopoulos has protected his flexibility well this winter, but now the time has arrived for him to make use of it.

Comments (69)

  1. Sooo…the Yankees or Dodgers are going to have a new starting pitcher

  2. I will be shocked, like absolutely fucking floored if the jays land this guy. The posting fee is not that much of an issue anymore but the contract sure as hell will be and I dont see rogers/AA biting on that. If Im AA, I would make a very aggressive push for garza while other teams are fixated on tanaka.

  3. Merry Christmas all. Here’s hoping you all have your power back or have it back very soon. 48 hours without was enough for me.

    Hope Santa brings the Jays a solid #2 starter or two for the New Year and All-Star seasons for my boys Colby and EE!

    • Merry Christmas terror. (a rose by any other name….)

      Your boys played plenty fine during your hiatus.
      Time to start pumping tires, man.

      Cletus is gonna get paid next year; let’s hope it’s by us.

  4. There’s always the possibility that internal starting pitching options are enough to get the Jays to contend. Maybe Morrow has a good year, and one or two of Drabek/Hutchinson/Stroman are effective.

    But man… I’d feel a hell of a lot better about the Jays chances in 2014 if they could land at least one more 2/3 type starter. One of Tanaka/Jiminez/Santana/Garza would be fine.

  5. I say offer 90mil over 6yrs. If he takes it, fine. If not, it lets you move on, and focus on one of the other big names.

    • But the Cubs (and probably others) have vowed they won’t be outbid. So even if by some miracle that’s the best offer (and I’ve heard that it’ll be at least north of $100 MM), you still have to convince him that Toronto’s the best place to ply his trade.

      • Where did you see that the cubs vowed they won’t be outbid? Or was that in your head

        • It was in my had right after I read it on MLBTR (still on the front page)….I dont expect it’ll be in your head very long if at all though.

          “One MLB source tells David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com (on Twitter) that he believes the Cubs will not be outbid for Tanaka’s services. …”

          • I find $100 million for a guy who has never pitched in mlb highly unlikely. Darvish got half that. And don’t bring up the fifty million posting fee. That is not part of his contract.

            • It isn’t, but it is still money that a GM has to convince ownership is worth spending on one player. It didn’t used to count against the luxury tax, but it was still part of the cost of the player.

  6. Best of the season sir, and thanks for all the great commentary and updates.

  7. I think your looking at 90/5 years to have a good shot

  8. Hopefully the draft pick compensation attached to Jiminez and Santana will give us an advantage over the teams that lose out on Tanaka. If Morrow will be as healthy as he claims to be. Adding another FA starter to the incumbent top three and have the young guns (minus Happ) battle it out for the fifth spot. That doesn’t seem so bad. But we will see if ownership will dough up this year again.

  9. This should probably still be taken very lightly, but Gibbons showed up on Prime Time Sports briefly last night and said that if the Jays do get a pitcher it’ll probably be through trade. Again, grain of salt.

    • I’m ok with a trade/ but I’m noy interested in dealing either of Stroman or Sanchez. After those 2 are gone there’s not a lot left till you get to Osuna who’s at least 2 years away.

    • I heard that too. Said trade was most likely, but teams were asking for a boatload for starting pitchers. Was kind of a bummer actually.

      Also what the fuck were the Tigers thinking in that Fister deal? There’s no way they couldn’t have held out for more.

      • Seriously. I know this will probably be taken as sacrilege, but that’s the kind of guy you definitely give up Stroman or Sanchez for, and if I was pressed, you could talk me into dealing them both.

        • He’s definitely good but that’s pretty much what I was getting at. After you trade Stroman and Sanchez you’ve got a lot of Drabeks and Hutch’s and Nolin’s ..tail end of the rotation guys, but no one with a lot of upside til you get to Osuna. And you will have given them up for 2 years of Fister. I’d rather sign one of the 4 FA’s and keep the kids.

  10. Also worth passing along, apparently Ubaldo’s asking price is 4-years between $17M and $20M per year. http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/index.ssf/2013/12/several_factors_keep_ubaldo_ji.html

    • Hmm

      • Should be fascinating. There’re a few forces in play like the market shrinking as each pitcher is signed and the draft pick compensation factor which “payroll parameters” alluded to. Plus there’s probably a few strategies in play too like when to you make your “take it or leave it” bid etc.

  11. And since I’m link-dumping, here’s what Shi Davidi wrote this morning:

    “During the winter meetings, when asked about the possibility of pursuing Tanaka, GM Alex Anthopoulos said: “We wouldn’t get specific, but I would say that any good starter we’ll definitely talk about seriously as far as being involved. I’m not one to come out and say we’re going after so and so, but I think it’s safe to say any good starter that’s out there we’re going to be active, we’ll try to be involved and see if it makes sense for us.”

    The Blue Jays have scouted Tanaka, although Anthopoulos didn’t make a trip to Japan the way he did to see Darvish during the 2011 season, but have also been doing lots of prep work on the other available pitchers.

    New catcher Dioner Navarro has been grilled about Garza, whom he’s caught both in Tampa Bay years ago and the Cubs last season, while Jeff Samardzija, another Chicago pitcher, remains a trade target if the asking price comes down. Santana and Jimenez have been looked into, as well.”


    • AA’s “due diligence” at work. Nice to see he’s doing his homework.

    • I’m just underwhelmed by The Shark. Especially when asking for BOTH of Stroman and Sanchez. Even one, to me, is a lot. Throw some prospects like Nolin, Norris, Stilson or even Osuna, but don’t part with two outstanding and CLOSE prospects for a guy like the Shark.

      Just my opinion.

      Go sign a free fucking agent or better yet, get Tanaka, Its only fucking money.

      • Part of that price is Theo Epstein knowing the market and the timing. I’m pretty sure his price will come down. Maybe one of Stroman or Sanchez would be ok for the Jays though, but that would be in light of how strong they think there tope 2 picks in this years draft will be. I just don’t like the gap between Sanchez and Stroman and the next best prospects.

        • *oops…”top 2 picks”

          • *oops…”their”

            what was so bad about Disqus that it had to go?

            • I dont think there was anything ‘wrong’ with disqus, just that when the blog moved to the Score, they have ther won comments software in place already, that is not disqus.

              • It should be noted that at the time of the move,most sections of The Score used disqus.Why they switched DJF to something else(wordpress?),I dunno.
                It is what it is.Just a curious thing.

      • I’m with you there. Don’t see the appeal of the guy, who looks like another 3 starter who’ll struggle in the AL to me. Giving up even one of the top pitching prospects for him is stupid.

  12. would be nice if AA passed when he did his homework though. anybody can kick tires, being able to close a deal is another thing.

    • AA said that the Aroldis Chapman bidding process was a learning experience for him. Some good that did in the Darvish sweepstakes. I’m not holding my breath on this Tanaka character

  13. Hell, if it’s just money – frankly, Rogers has more money than anyone. If they REALLY wanted him, I can’t see anyone outbidding them.

    • Rogers has all of the money, but the jays division of the company doesn’t. The Jays have a budget. Publicly traded companies don’t become successful by just blowing up their budgets for smaller divisions.

  14. Ya gotta remember that every other team and their fans are thinking the same thing about Tanaka.
    No draft pick,no trading prospects or other players.
    Only money.
    Everybody’s on equal ground.The cost and term could go through the roof.
    Could the final price approach 150/7 or above?And should AA pay it,if it goes there?

    • I’m not sure I totally buy that load of garbage, but hey – it’s your opinion.

    • I think Tanaka will listen to all the bids, and then jump at the LoLs’ offer of 2 / 500 K. But then Angelos will get involved and somehow Tanaka will fail his physical.

    • Will I agree with you in principal it’s more to do with the franchise than the city or country. If we even had a sniff of a winner here over the last 20 years then we probably would have a decent shot, since that is not the case, I expect someone with a winning pedigree to land him. The Jays just don’t have the ownership or the mindset to overpay like I think they would need to. Maybe that is a good thing at times.

      Personally would love it and I wonder if AA having been close on Chapman and having gone through the Darvish process might not see the advantages. Chapman and Darvish looked expensive at the time but both look relatively cheap now. I am sure the same can be said for Puig and Cepedes.

    • ‘Cause amrerica so fricking great! He isn’t leaving Japan for amrerica(your spelling, witch your learned in yo amrericano scool), he’s leaving Japan for MLB. I’m sure he’ll go straight back to Japan after the season is over to get away from racist amrericano’s like yourself.

  15. Good point. I’d be shocked if he came to the Jays. Also if Sanchez and Stroman are that good…why trade them?
    Dickey and Buerle will be solid. Morrow cannot be counted on. Hutchinson should be a solid 4-5.
    Can Stroman or Sanchez be a #3 or 4 next year? If so,why trade them?
    Sign a free agent. Prob Garza.

    • Ok

    • Why does drabek get no love from jays fans? Or not anymore should I say after we overhyped him in the past and he was brought up from aa before his command was developed well. Highest upside and most developed fringe pitcher out of all those guys. Filthy stuff. If his arm is in good shape after the two tj surgeries why should we not expect him to have the best shot at a solid year?

      • No one wants that more than me but (IIRC) the guy had the highest walk total in MLB before he went down for his TJ surgery.

  16. Maybe Munenori Kawasaki was resigned to help with our recruiting efforts

    • all japanese people know eachother and are friends, everyone knows this

      • …Kawasaki signs (for peanuts, no doubt), with an invite to the big camp the day before it is public that Tanaka will be available. If you were a foreign free agent, would you be more likely to sign with a team where one of your countrymen has already received an overwhelming degree of fan support for mediocre contributions, and will be there to hang with during your 1st camp in a foreign land, or a team with no one who speaks your language.
        They may not know each other now, but who would make a better ambassador than Kawasaki? … and with what the Jays did starting pitching-wise last year, would you be more confident that your contributions, even if not Cy Young-worthy, would be not just welcomed, but cause for celebration every 5th day?

      • actually, I believe they used to be teammates. they know each other. no source though, forget where I read it.

    • Kawasaki and Tanaka were teammates in the 2008 Olympics as well as the 2009 World Baseball Classic. That fact that one of Tanaka’s former teammates was signed less than 24 hours before he was posted cannot be seen as a coincidence. If Kawasaki played 2nd, he would be very handy to have around to help Tanaka speak with Navarro or Gibby whenever they come tot he mound.

  17. A Stoeten post on Christmas morning: Sign of the apocalypse?

  18. Just to look back. Why were the Jays not all-in on Darvish? The word was they were going to take a serious run. Rogers could afford to pay his weight in diamonds. He only cost money. Why did they not go for him? What was it that stopped them and will the same thing stop them now? I suspect AA did not want to stick his neck out too far. And then over-reacted last off-season and stuck his neck out a ton. Maybe this year he’ll find the middle ground.

    • For every Darvish you have a Dice-K.

    • Isabella.
      When Darvish was being posted,the Jays were not ready to take a run.They weren’t one major pitcher away from contending.We also don’t know what AA bid. Regardless of all the speculation still only a handfull of people know what they bid or even if they did bid.
      And at the time,every Nippon League pitcher who came to the MLB had a huge drop off in their 3rd year.
      Was it wise at the time to pay 100 million+ for maybe 3 years of production?Especially where the Jays were?

      • Thanks Radar, my point exactly. I’d be surprised if more than 5 people know what they bid (or what they didnt bid). Lots of people have speculated though and others have concluded that it was a miniscule bid for whatever reason.

      • Radar you make a good point. As for how much was bid, the whole thing was so murky,I doubt we’ll ever find out the truth. It may be that they bid extremely high, high enough to think they got him, but were quietly told the day before the announcement that they were the underbidder. Certainly that’s when the Bruce Arthur article came out. It’s possible that AA then downplayed his part in the bidding in order to depress the expectations of other free agent pitchers or trading partners. If so, it had unfortunate results in terms of team pr. Which Stoeten will no doubt remind me is not AA’s main concern, and nor should it be.

        • For me the entire process reinforced the fact that the media knew nothing and was grasping at straws. That Kevin Gray idiot talked as if his “friend with inside information” was an established fact.
          “I doubt we’ll ever know the truth.”
          When you think about it, with only a couple of executives at MLB and a couple more at the Jays involved, why would we? In fact, I’m pretty sure that even Darvish’s team only knew the winner and the amount they bid.

  19. Merry Christmas to Andrew Stoeten, and to all the members of the Drunken Monkey Army. Hopefully the Jays will find a Tanaka in their stocking.

  20. Can’t help but think that Kawasaki being signed the day before the confirmations that there WILL be a posting process for Tanaka is a clear indication that the Jays are in play. Nothing for weeks, if not months about Kawasaki being invited back, then on Christmas Eve, and at the same time the Jays are no doubt finding out the posting process will take place, Kawasaki suddenly signs, and with an invite to the Major League camp, when previously it was hinted he would be back as a AAA insurance policy only.
    Coincidence? … I don’t think so

    • Ugh. “Grassy Knoll,” are you the kind that likes to see or find more than is really there? Doesn’t it just make sense that the jays need middle infield depth?

  21. Whoo wah. You think ..for a minute…..that some star pitcher is ..or is NOT..going to sign with a team…because it DOES…..or DOES NOT…have a back up middle infielder on it?

    • Tanaka will get a long-term and $100M+ no matter which team he goes to. There are most likely going to be multiple teams that are willing to overpay, and will wind up within a few $M of each other money-wise. At that point, it will come down to where he wants to locate. I just think that since he is going to be moving to a new country for 10 months of each year, to a new team with new customs, systems, expectations, etc., having a countryman already there is going to make selling him on a particular team/city/country easier, particularly when he already knows the individual. The fact that a journeyman middle infielder like Kawasaki almost instantly became a cult hero in Toronto (and Canada, for that matter) can do nothing but add to the selling package. Kawasaki will no doubt rave about the reception he received, as well as the positive aspects of Toronto, the city, a multi-cultural, relatively safe, clean, metropolis (4th largest in North America). The Jays could have signed any number of journeymen middle-infielders… they chose to sign Kawasaki at almost the exact same time that it became public knowledge that Tanaka would be posted. It is human nature to want to go where you will be appreciated, if not loved. Having Kawasaki in the sales presentation is a low-risk/high yield chip in the Jays’ favour.

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