The Latest on Masahiro Tanaka

Yankees sign Bruce Billings, re-sign Yoshinori Tateyama
Thoughts after the Hall of Fame announcement
(Koji Watanabe/Getty)
(Koji Watanabe/Getty)

Today is the halfway point of Masahiro Tanaka‘s 30-day negotiating window. He has 15 days left to work out a contract before the 5pm ET deadline on January 24th, and the entire deal must be complete by that time. Tanaka needs to pass a physical and sign on the dotted line by then. There won’t be any of this “agree to a deal and three weeks later it’s official” nonsense. Only 15 days until he is on some team’s roster. Love the hard deadline.

Anyway, we know the Yankees have already contacted with Tanaka’s agent Casey Close, but there haven’t been any real updates since. That doesn’t mean talks have stalled or anything like that, just that no updates have leaked. The whole process has been very tight-lipped, it seems. I’m guessing that’s by design. Here are some Tanaka-related notes from around the league in what I suspect is the first of many update posts:

  • Tanaka flew to the Los Angeles yesterday to begin face-to-face meetings with teams. He is slated to meet with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Cubs, White Sox, Dodgers, and Angels this week and he will also be seen by a doctor to get the physical process going. [David Waldstein, Bill Plunkett & Jon Heyman]
  • D’Backs GM Kevin Towers said Close “pretty much asked those clubs that are involved that just less is better and not to really say anything or divulge the process or what’s happening.” That explains the lack of updates. [Steve Gilbert]
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti confirmed he has touched base with Tanaka’s camp but the two sides are in the “feeling out” stage. Negotiations with various clubs are “still in a very preliminary phase” and things might not heat up until next week. [Dylan Hernandez & Andy Martino]
  • If you missed it earlier this week, here is our massive Scouting The Market post on Tanaka. Pretty much everything you need to know about the guy is in there.
Yankees sign Bruce Billings, re-sign Yoshinori Tateyama
Thoughts after the Hall of Fame announcement
  • JOhn C

    Time for things to start heating up. Get in there Hal!!!

  • notsosmart

    Indeed, throw some money around, Hal! I promise to buy a $15 Bud Light next time I’m at the Stadium.

    • Laz

      One down, 9,333,332 more to go

  • Big John Stud

    Seems like between Ellsbury, Beltran, and now Tanaka, there are better ways they could have spent ~$350M. Maybe not this off-season and especially since none of those three make this a championship team. They still have far too many holes (the whole infield!, the rotation). Even with all three, it’s a middle of the pack team.

    Without talent from the farm, improving this team for the years ahead means spending another $500M next off-season to get them closer to a championship. Problem is, that infield problem is not getting much better unless Hanley makes it to free agency. And they’re going to outbid the Dodgers on Hanley and Kershaw? I doubt it. Plus, that still leaves holes at 2B and 3B, unless they go in for Headley/Sandoval too. There’s nothing good available at 2B.

    So, a year from now if they’ve spent big money on Ellsbury, Beltran, Tanaka, Kershaw, Hanley, and Headley/Sandoval, they’d be where they need to be. But they’d also be very expensive and past prime going forward. They can certainly afford it. But it requires them throwing all budgets out and these players reaching free agency. They are the ones worth spending on.

    Is this ownership ready to go all in? 2 years after the 189 Hal Plan? I’m skeptical.

    • mitch

      Jeter, Ichiro, Kuroda, and Soriano will be gone next year. Arod, Tex, and CC will be gone a couple years later. Big contracts will come off the books and be replaced by bigger ones. If Kershaw and Ramirez hit the market, i’d be shocked if the Yankees weren’t involved.

      • Big John Stud

        Will Jeter really be gone though? If he manages to hit .290, I could see Levine giving him another two year deal, irrespective of how bad his defense will be.

        Ichiro makes little. Soriano gone is great, but then will they pay market rate for Gardner (who is also gone)? I don’t see how with the logjam in the 2014 OF that Heathcott, Austin or Williams gets much of a shot to take over even if they are ready. So they’ll also have to spend on another OF Unless they plan the kids and fodder for the 3rd and 4th slots.

        A-Rod isn’t gone until 2017. Tex too. But nothing in the system to replace either.
        CC in 2017 (vesting option).

        I’m totally fine with them spending. They should! I just question if this ownership will stomach a $250M payroll for 2015-2016 until A-Rod, CC, Tex come off the books and will they have cheap youth ready to replace them? I’m hopeful but dubious on that point.

        • nsalem

          If he stays healthy this year Ramirez will probably be looking for 8 to 10 years and someone will give it to him. I hope it’s not the Yankee’s.

          • Big John Stud

            Then Cabrera? They’ve got nothing in the system.

            Hanley is def risky. But when you have nothing, you have to pay.

            2B is going to be a black hole for a few years.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          To be fair, 2017 is still a few years away. Someone could come up through our farm, we could trade for a young guy, anything could happen between now and then.

          I’m not too worried about replacing Tex just yet.

          I honestly think that as baseball gets used to the rising cost of talent, the Yankees will be OK with spending more. I could be wrong, but we’re all just spitballing anyway.

          • lightSABR

            I sure hope you’re right. I never want to hear to words “we’re going to get under the salary cap” again.

            At least not unless the cap increases substantially to reflect rising payrolls, an outcome I’d also be quite happy with.

      • Slugger27

        we all know jeter is starting at SS opening day 2015. its just a matter of year to year like pettitte or he demands multiple years and the yankees give it to him because hes derek jeter.

        • Big John Stud

          Yeah, and given they need groundball pitchers for Yankee Stadium, that’s very, very bad for their win total. If they miss out on Hanley (or Asdrubal), that’s even worse.

        • Laz

          If he can still hold it together most likely. He turns 40 in June, if he can’t hold it together I think his career is over. Who would want a poor defensive ss that can’t stay healthy and will want $10M+

        • lightSABR

          Even given his defensive shortcomings, it would be wonderful for the Yankees if he can continue to be an above-average hitter and almost-passable shortstop for them for a few more years. He’d still be better than any alternatives we’re likely to get our hands on.

          But I don’t think he can do that. I expect that either his defense will turn him into a below-average DH or his hitting will fall down into the 80 wRC+ range, or very likely both. If that’s the case, I hope the team lets him shop the market the next time he asks for a double-digit contract. This whole “give him a totally unearned raise over his already over-generous player option, just because he’s Derek Jeter” thing really bugs me.

    • steve

      andre the GIANT HAS JUST POWER SLAMMED YOUR DUMB DOUCHE ass,enjoy your mets

      • Big John Stud

        And I power slammed your Mom’s ass last night!

        • King Kong Bundy

          I helped!

          • Big John Stud

            Now that’s a tag team! And Steve’s mom loved every minute.

        • OldYanksFan

          Dear Mr. Mike Axisa,
          Just what does someone have to say before you ban them?

  • ronald frushon

    hal, go ahead and drag your feet thing that everyone is just dying to play for the yankees. do what george would do,make sure we get tanaka.
    get a move on hal

  • al

    Interesting, how Mariners are not in that group of teams.

    • Big John Stud

      Not reported doesn’t mean not in on. I’d be very surprised if the M’s weren’t major players. They didn’t spend on Cano to finish in third.

      • Deep Thoughts

        Agreed–more likely fourth place.

  • The Great Gonzo

    The ability of the ENTIRE LEAGUE to be completely hushed on this whole process (outside of where the man is visiting today, which is pretty hard to hide) is mind-boggling to me.

    • lightSABR

      I know, right? A pity the A-Rod hearings couldn’t have gone the same way.

    • Laz

      Maybe they are limiting it only to the top teams, and all the teams still think they have a chance.

  • Rick

    Watch…Next week it will suddenly be announced Tanaka to the Mariners for 7 years $150 million or some other outrageous amount. No other team got a 2nd meeting. It’s an inside deal that Japanese owned Nintendo has in the bag. The Mariners make big moves while the Yanks, without George, twiddle their thumbs and play by Bud’s rules.

    • lightSABR

      And the Yankees still win more games than the Mariners next year.

      (Not certain, of course, but I think people forget just how awful they were in 2013.)

      • Mike

        Agreed. Even with Tanaka, Felix, and Iwakuma, I’d still take our starting rotation over them any day.