The bidding has started on Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka is one of the prized possessions in this year’s free agent class and will likely receive a contract in the range of $100 million.
Tanaka played for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, who bought out his contract. The Eagles made headlines recently with their signing of Kevin Youkilis.
Tanaka posted an impressive career record of 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA. Last year he went 24-0 and only gave up 30 earned runs, a career year that has teams calling for the 25-year-old pitcher.
Teams in the running for Tanaka include the New York Yankees, Los Angles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. These teams have the money to sign Tanaka. It is believed that the Cubs will not let Tanaka out of their sight.
Tanaka is a perfect fit for the Cubs. With the Cubs waiting for their prospects to blossom it will give time for Tanaka to develop. With less pressure than he;d face playing in New York or Los Angles where immediate impact is expected, Tanaka can take his time in Chicago. He will have a few years to get used to the major leagues and when the Cubs are ready to make their playoff push in the next few years, Tanaka is the guy to lead them there. The Cubs also have Kyuji Fujikawa to help transion Tanaka into the majors.
We have seen international pitchers pan out and fail. There is a lot of money invested in these pitchers who have yet to perform in the major leagues. The Texas Rangers last year found a gem in Yu Darvish and he turned out to have a career year. However, Boston, who won the bidding rights to Daisuke Matsuzaka with a bid of $51,111,111.11, on top of a $60 million dollar contract, did not reap the benefits as Dice K could not solidify his career in Boston.
The Cubs need this signing as they have stayed quite this off season. On the South Side of Chicago the White Sox have been busy, now it is time for the North Siders to make a splash this offseason.
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