Masahiro Tanaka, star pitcher of the Rakuten Golden Eagles, is on his way to the United States to begin negotiating talks with interested Major League Baseball clubs after his team agreed on a 30-day window transfer last December. A number of clubs including the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks are expected to vie for the 25-year old Japanese.
Though initially reluctant to post Tanaka, Eagles management announced his availability last month and teams wanting to negotiate a deal with a player must first post a fee of up to $20 million to the Eagles just to be able to negotiate and talk with him. This does not include the contract deal, which they will have to spend to secure the player and have him sign with them. Under the new posting system agreed by clubs under the MLB and the Nippon Professional Baseball a maximum cap of $20 million was set, unlike previous postings where a record sum of more than $50 million for the right to negotiate with Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka were collected by Japanese clubs. Tanaka is expected to choose a final team candidate by January 17, and only the club who successfully signs him will forfeit the $20 million they posted.
Tanaka, who revealed his desire to try his skills in the MLB, has a stunning record of 24-0 and 1.27 ERA for the past season. He also struck out 183 batters and walked a measly 32 out of 212 innings. Pitching for Japan in the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic and the 2008 Olympics, he has a 99-35 with 2.30 ERA record in seven Japan League campaigns.
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