Masahiro Tanaka bidding begins on Thursday morning and will conclude by January 24

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Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 183 strikeouts in 212 innings this past summer for the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball and was cleared on Tuesday evening to pursue his dream of pitching at the sport’s highest level: Major League Baseball. Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News lays out the details for the big-money bidding war that will play out in the weeks ahead:

The Cubs, Yankees, Angels and Diamondbacks are just a few of the teams that have expressed serious interest in the star 25-year-old right-hander. He could command more than $100 million in guaranteed money.

MLB calls umpire union statement about Manny Machado discipline “inappropriate”

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Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.

This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:

“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline.  Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires.  We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”

That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.