Wednesday 1/22/14 update:
The Yankees have reportedly come to an agreement with Tanaka on a 7-year $155 million deal. More to come on LL about the Dodgers rotation going into 2014 sans Tanaka.
Tuesday 1/21/14 update:
Masahiro Tanaka tweeted this on Tuesday:
— 田中将大/MASAHIRO TANAKA (@t_masahiro18) January 21, 2014
His tweet which translates to “can’t decide” wasn’t necessarily referring to his huge decision about which team’s offer to choose but rather which Twitter avatar to use. Let’s hope he’s more decisive come Friday.
The Dodgers were one of a hand full of teams which officially submitted an offer to Japanese free agent Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees, Cubs, D-backs, and White Sox have all reportedly submitted a formal contract offer to Masahiro according to Nikkan Sports.
Supposedly the Dodgers are not going to go “all-in” for Tanaka and make an aggressive pursuit of him like they did for Hyun-jin Ryu last winter. Although the Dodgers may not have offered the highest contract amount to the right-hander, they still could be chosen by Tanaka since Los Angeles offers many upsides for him and his wife over the other markets.
Los Angeles has a great Japanese community, and the history of the West Coast and Japanese baseball certainly puts the Dodgers on the top of Tanaka’s list. I just wrote about the influence of Hideo Nomo in Los Angeles after he was inducted into the Japan Hall of Fame this month. I would like to think that Tanaka and Nomo have spoken to one another. Masanori Murakami played for the Giants in the ’60s, and many other Japanese players followed suit after Nomo made a splash with the Dodgers.
Beautiful weather, a Dodgers legacy, and an opportunity to pitch for a contending and up and coming team seem to be the biggest lures to Los Angeles for Tanaka. Tanaka’s wife is Japanese idol and pop singer Mai Satoda who prefers to live on the West coast for the entertainment industry.
With the Friday deadline coming up quick, we could find out Tanaka’s decision any day now or it could go down to the wire. The Cubs and the Yankees seem desperate enough to spend a lot to outbid the other teams. Even though I’d love for the Dodgers to land Tanaka (if not only for the Yankees reaction), I don’t want them to give him a Kershaw-type contract. The Dodgers still need another infielder, they have to agree on terms with A.J. Ellis and Kenley Jansen, and they are in the beginning stages of discussing a contract extension for Hanley Ramirez. With Zach Lee and Ross Stripling working hard to make the club out of Spring Training and are ready to make their Dodger debuts this season, a Tanaka signing could change that.
I’m going to be updating this post this week. Chime in below to tell us who you think will land Tanaka: