Japanese pitching superstar Masahiro Tanaka is expected to earn upwards of $100 million when the bidding process among Major League Baseball teams is all said and done. According to Rakuten Golden Eagles president Yozo Takibana, Tanaka said he would like to help out the Golden Eagles, with whom he played for seven years in the Japan Pacific League, by donating money to help improve the stadium.
Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times is reporting that the commissioner’s office will be intent on enforcing a new provision in the posting system which limits the amount of money a posting team can receive, directly or indirectly, is $20 million. MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said, “We are intent on enforcing all the provisions of the agreement.”
Tanaka will draw interest from just about every team, as it costs nothing to speculate — only the winning team is responsible for paying the $20 million posting fee. However, the Dodgers, Angels, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Cubs, and Mariners are among the teams expected to pursue Tanaka the strongest.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.