Masahiro Tanaka wants to play in the United States. To do that, his team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, have to agree to post him. Under the new posting rules agreed to by MLB and NPB, Rakuten stands to get $20 million, which is way less than posting teams used to get. And they’d lose their best player and top draw in the deal.
In light of that, this is not terribly surprising:
The nuance to all of this, of course, is that Tanaka has asked to be posted and that, while Rakuten is not under any obligation to honor is wishes, NPB teams try to honor such wishes when possible for general goodwill purposes. They’d love to have agreement with Tanaka if they can. But they’d also like to keep his services given that losing him will get them only $20 million.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.