Archive for the ‘Masahiro Tanaka’ Category


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.

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There were a couple items that I figured came up too late last night for it to be worth making a post about them at that point, so I’ve saved them all for one big post here this morning. And… uh… this is that post.

Arencibia Almost A Ranger?

According to Rangers beat writer T.R. Sullivan, J.P. Arencibia was almost dealt to Texas in the hours before the non-tender deadline. He explains at his blog, Postcards From Elysian Fields:

A trade was close to being completed but the Rangers were reluctant to add another arbitration-eligible player. The Rangers were willing to do a trade if Arencibia was willing to agree to a contract that would have avoided arbitration. But it never got worked out and now Arencibia, who hit .194 last year, is another free agent under consideration.

If it isn’t entirely clear, here’s what happened: had they acquired the rights to Arencibia before the deadline with no contract in place, the Rangers would have had to then tender him a contract, and he would have still been eligible for arbitration. Since it’s projected he’ll earn about $2.8-million through the arbitration process, and since he’ll probably not get close to that much on the open market, Texas wanted to agree to terms first. The terms they were trying to get Arencibia and his agent to agree to, however, must have been a bit lower, in their view, than what he could command on the open market, so they didn’t feel it was in their interest to take the deal, and thus the trade was nixed.

Hard to blame Arencibia, but that’s too bad for the Jays.

Also of note in this: Jon Daniels is most certainly not a dumb GM. Make of that what you will.

Jays Interested In David Price?

Well, of course they are! Who wouldn’t be? But according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the club’s interest may not be limited to mere idle daydreaming about the Rays lefty ace.

Passan includes the Jays “among the teams that not only have an interest in Price but believe they can put together the sort of package to pry Price from the Rays, sources said.”

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Assuming that the rumours are true– and Joel Sherman of the New York Post has been well on top of these negotiations, and tweets that while MLB officials have yet to been told the latest proposal has been accepted, there are Japanese media reports that it will be– the posting system that allows NPB players to move to the big leagues is about to change significantly. And not in a way that’s likely going to help the Jays.

Does this mean that the Tanaka dream– pipe-shaped as it may have been– is over for Jays fans? Not necessarily. In fact, it’s far more intact on the word of this news that it would have been had one of the other rumoured proposals been true– the one that had been going around that suggested the max-bid team with the lowest winning percentage the year before would get exclusive negotiating rights with the player. I mean, the Jays may have finished tied for the ninth-worst record in baseball this year, but it’s not like the teams behind them are penniless minnows. Surely the Cubs, the Mariners, or even the White Sox, Marlins, Astros or Phillies would have stepped up with $20-million to secure exclusive rights.

Tanaka now, assuming he’s posted and that this really is the system that will be in place, will simply be negotiated with like any other free agent– which is surely the fair way to do it anyway. That doesn’t put the Jays in as astronomically great a position as they would have been if they’d won the posting on Yu Darvish *COUGH*, but they still certainly could be suitors for him. In fact, if the Yankees are still concerned about their luxury tax issue, maybe it helps the Jays that only $20-million of the overall cost of the deal would be exempt– assuming that doesn’t change in the new deal as well (though I’d assume it’s a CBA thing).

Then again, when the Yankees want a player, the Yankees don’t often miss out on that player. And, of course, it wouldn’t be just the Yankees looking to land what may be the best pitcher in this year’s grim free agent class– one who won’t cost anyone a draft pick, either.

The news could be worse, and it could be better, in other words. But at least we’re finally nearing some measure of closure on what Tanaka’s status will be– and that will certainly begin to heat up the market for guys like Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, and others who are waiting for their own payday as the market’s pitching consolation prize.

So… there’s that.


At this point I tend to not think that the Jays are going to be major players in the race to land Japan’s Next Big Thing, pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. There are simply too many teams with too much money and too many incentives– like the fact that only Tanaka’s contract, and not the posting fee, will count towards the Yankees’ much talked-about luxury tax figure– to see the Jays as the kind of strong bidders for him that most of us would hope they will be.

There is also the fact that, as yet– and as I noted in our previous post– there have been no reports of Alex Anthpoulos going to Japan to watch Tanaka pitch, with Dan Evans and Andrew Tinnish having been seemingly sent instead (at least according to what we’ve heard). Maybe I’m not giving enough credit to a couple of AA’s trusted lieutenants– or maybe the fact that Anthopoulos possibly didn’t go was, in fact, a way to help manage expectations that ran so wildly out of control two years ago in the frenzy over Yu Darvish– but you’d have to think that if the reports the club was hearing on him were in line with the kind of contract they expect him to get, and they were actually serious about spending the kind of money on him that they’ll need to, the GM himself would have gone to take a look.

Even if I’m wrong on that, there is also the matter of the club’s budget, and the fact that Anthopoulos seems as though he would like to act quickly to address his club’s needs. Certainly he couldn’t put all of his eggs into that one basket, since, should he fail, many of the other targets would be off the market by the time Tanaka’s status is sorted, and he could very likely wind up holding a big bag of cash with no one appropriate to spend it on.

If the club did want to make a move for the pitcher, though, it seems like the conditions got at least a little bit more favourable for them tonight, as Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets about some potential changes coming to the posting system:

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Who wants to start a week in which John Farrell might with the World Series with another reason why the Blue Jays dropped the ball so badly two winters ago when they didn’t sign Yu Darvish?

No? … Nobody? Well… sorry.

Last month I wrote a post about Masahiro Tanaka, the next Japanese player expected to head to North American shores while making himself, and his team, ass-loads of cash in the process. In the piece I noted this report from David Lennon of Newsday:

Multiple sources told Newsday that significant changes to the current posting system for Japanese players seem to be imminent and could take effect as soon as this November. That would enable the next coveted Japanese ace, Masahiro Tanaka of the Rakuten Golden Eagles, to benefit from an expanded — and presumably more player-friendly — process should he follow through on his reported desire to play in the United States next season.

. . .

According to sources, one of the proposals for a new system would have as many as three teams chosen among the top bidders, with the Japanese player then allowed to choose the club he’d prefer to play for and negotiate with.

Lennon’s report seems to be true, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote on Saturday that those sorts of changes appear to be close to happening, and that “the MLB Commissioners Office and Nippon Professional Baseball are closing in on a posting agreement that the sides are optimistic will be in place by Nov. 1.”

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To repeat the question posed by the title of this post: Did AA say the Jays would bid for Tanaka?

The Globe and Mail certainly thinks so. To wit, from Tom Maloney’s piece on the Jays’ tough off-season, and the GM’s lengthy chat with the media yesterday:

Prior to the game, Anthopoulos reasserted the goal of strengthening the rotation with a front-of-the-line pitcher via trade or free agency. He followed in a television broadcast by acknowledging the club will bid for Masahiro Tanaka, a 24-year-old free agent from Japan’s Pacific League.

Thing is, though, unless Anthopoulos was on another TV broadcast, and not just the one with Buck and Pat, uh… that’s not quite what happened– or, at least, that’s not how I heard it.

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Jays fans hellbent on overreacting to the club’s failure to land Yu Darvish two winters ago by being insistent that the club go hard after Masahiro Tanaka, the latest supposed big time NPB talent to be set for a move to North America, have some potential reason for disappointment today. (Or… well… actually like five days ago, actually, but it’s still a topic worth exploring).

To wit, via David Lennon of Newsday:

Multiple sources told Newsday that significant changes to the current posting system for Japanese players seem to be imminent and could take effect as soon as this November. That would enable the next coveted Japanese ace, Masahiro Tanaka of the Rakuten Golden Eagles, to benefit from an expanded — and presumably more player-friendly — process should he follow through on his reported desire to play in the United States next season.

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