Big news from Japan this morning. The New York Times passes along reports from Japan that the Rakuten Golden Eagles will not post Masahiro Tanaka. Rather, as reported last night, they are going to offer him a contract in the neighborhood of $8 million and force him to stay in Japan.
This would be way less than what Tanaka could earn in the U.S., but what he could earn in the U.S. would mean little if anything to Rakuten, who is under no obligation to post Tanaka. All they would get if they did post him is $20 million, which could be less than Tanaka’s overall value to the franchise if he were to remain with the Golden Eagles. After all, he’s coming off a 24-0 season in which he posted a 1.27 ERA and 183/32 K/BB in 212 innings. What would that be worth to you? Plenty, I bet.
If this holds it’s a big financial blow to Tanaka. And a big blow to whichever of the several major league teams with reported interest in bidding on him who would’ve ended up with him.
Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.
Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.
Ken Rosenthal has an interesting story up about Sergio Romo as he begins spring training with his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There is some fun stuff about his family, all Dodgers fans from southern California, but the more notable stuff is about Romo himself, who has dealt with a lot more than has been reported over the past couple of seasons. The loss of three of his four grandparents is a big one, as it has thrust the mantle of head of the family on Romo in ways that he was not fully prepared for. There are also allusions to personal and psychological problems Romo has experienced — there is a vague suggestion of alcohol or maybe just late nights out and perhaps depression, but he is not specific about it — which he worked on with the help of friends and teammates on the Giants and which he now has overcome.
There’s always more going on the lives of baseball players than we as fans know.