Coveted Japanese right-handed starter Masahiro Tanaka will be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles, making him available to major league teams in the near future. The announcement was made by team president Yozo Tachibana, and translated from a Sankei Sports report by Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
Golden Eagles announce Tanaka will be posted, according to Sankei Sports. RT @sankeisports: イーグルス、田中将大の新ポスティング制度による移籍を容認すると発表しました。— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) December 25, 2013
Rakuten's decision to post Masahiro Tanaka was announced by team president Yozo Tachibana.— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) December 25, 2013
The official announcement that Tanaka is coming to the United States comes after months of speculation that he would have to remain with Rakuten until the end of his current contract. Sources have indicated that the markets for the top free agent starting pitchers (Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez) has been stalled by the Tanaka saga, and the expectation is that the announcement will cause the starting pitching market to pick up. Teams seem to view Tanaka as the top arm available this winter, so teams looking to add a starter will likely try to sign him before turning to Santana, Garza or Jimenez.
Teams can bid up to $20 million for the right to negotiate with Tanaka, and teams who post the highest bid will have the right to negotiate with him for thirty days. The Cubs, Dodgers, Angels, Diamondbacks and Yankees are among the teams who are expected to bid on the 25-year old.