Masahiro Tanaka has come to the United States, and he’s ready to show the world what he’s all about!
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Japanese pitcher landed in Los Angeles earlier today and has already begun meeting with representatives of major league teams. Tanaka and his agent Casey Close will be busy over the next few days, as just about every team in baseball has expressed some interest in signing him. It is believed that he has already met with or has meetings planned with the Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox, Yankees and Diamondbacks.
Are the Phillies legitimate contenders for Tanaka? Signing him would appear to fit in with their offseason strategy, and would likely be the only move the Phillies could make that would definitely improve their chances of contention in 2014. Putting him behind Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels would give them a formidable front of the rotation.
However, it isn’t clear if the Phillies would feel comfortable spending the amount of money that signing him will require. In addition to the $20 million posting fee that they’d have to pay to Tanaka’s Japanese team, it will also likely require a six-year, $100 million contract to secure his services. Then again, now that they’re flush with that new Comcast money, how better to celebrate their new deal than by signing an expensive pitcher?
Todd Zolecki reported that Ruben Amaro spoke to Close earlier this month, but it seems as if just about every team in baseball has spoken to Close in the past few weeks. As more details about Tanaka’s scheduled meetings are released, we’ll learn whether the Phillies are actually serious contenders for his services.