On Tuesday, the Rakuten Golden Eagles have agreed to post Tanaka to be up for bid by Major League teams. One of the best Japanese pitchers in the Nippon Professional Baseball league, Tanaka was destined for the MLB, just if his club had let him. MLB executives told Buster Olney a deal in the $150 million range seemed like what Tanaka would get.
Nippon Professional Baseball and the MLB agreed to new posting rules on Monday, December 16, so that the Rakuten Golden Eagles (Tanaka's former club) can receive some grievance if they lose their pitcher (max $20 million on posting fee). Shortly after, Tanaka told the Golden Eagles wanted to come to the MLB. And on Tuesday, Tanaka's wishes were fulfilled; he was posted to the Major Leagues.
Over his Japanese career, 25-year-old Masahiro Tanaka has pitched beautifully. Over his seven year NPB career, Tanaka is 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. In 2013, Tanaka was practically perfect, pitching to a 24-0 record, a 1.27 ERA, and a 0.94 WHIP. Including the postseason, Tanaka was 30-0 in 2013. Tanaka should be a solid pitcher in the Major Leagues and could make a ton of money starting this offseason.
The Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, are the largest suitors for the right-hander. More teams will show interest now that they know Tanaka has been allowed to come the MLB. The Golden Eagles will likely have a release fee of the maximum $20 million. Every team that puts in their $20 million will be allowed to negotiate with Tanaka, but the team that signs him will be the only team to pay the Golden Eagles $20 million. At this point, it seems like every team should put in the $20 million.