Rakuten Golden Eagles appear likely to allow Masahiro Tanaka’s departure to MLB

51 Comments

Rakuten Golden Eagles president Yozo Tachibana spoke to the Japanese media this weekend about MLB and NPB’s new posting system, which puts a $20 million cap on posting fees. The Golden Eagles own the rights to the hottest international free agent on the market this winter, Masahiro Tanaka, and were hoping to cash in like the Nippon Ham Fighters did in 2012 when they got a franchise-changing $51.7 million posting fee from the Rangers for Yu Darvish.

Put simply — and for obvious reasons — Tachibana and the Golden Eagles hate the new posting fee cap. They could take that frustration out on Tanaka by refusing to post him, denying the 25-year-old right-hander the ability to leave Nippon Professional Baseball this offseason to join a Major League Baseball team.

But it doesn’t sound like that will happen. Ben Badler of Baseball America breaks it down:

So in the end, while the Eagles are obviously upset that they won’t be making as much money off Tanaka as they were anticipating, if Tanaka wants to make the jump to MLB this season, it’s expected that they will let him go.

A $20 million posting fee is still a substantial amount of money for the Eagles, who control Tanaka’s rights for two more seasons. If they choose not to post him this winter, Tanaka would be only one year away from true free agency, at which point Tanaka might prefer to not be posted and wait another year to sign without any restrictions, leaving the Eagles without any compensation. As one MLB team official put it, whether the Eagles were counting on $60 million or $20 million for Tanaka, in the end, it’s likely $20 million or nothing.

Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 183/32 K/BB in 212 innings this past summer for Rakuten.

Cubs acquire Terrance Gore from the Royals

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Chicago Cubs have acquired outfielder Terrance Gore from the Royals for cash considerations.

Gore has not played in the big leagues at all this season and only has 49 games and 14 plate appearances to his credit at the big league level over four seasons. Still, in that time, he has stolen 21 bases as a pinch-runner extraordinaire. That has extended into the postseason too, as he has four stolen bases in postseason play despite never having had a postseason plate appearance.

Figure the Cubs want some instant speed themselves, at the very least for September, when active rosters expand to 40-men. If he proves valuable then, and if the Cubs can find room for him, he’d be a useful playoff weapon as well.