MLB Trade Rumors’ Aaron Steen provides the translation of this report from Japanese news service Nikkan Sports:
Clubs angling to sign Masahiro Tanaka made formal offers by Jan. 16, Nikkan Sports reports (Japanese link). The list of teams includes the Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, White Sox and Cubs, with nearly all clubs putting together offers worth more than $100MM over six years.
Noticeably absent from that list are the Angels, who could really use another front-line starter and were thought to be a potential Tanaka suitor but apparently don’t have room in the budget to make such a massive financial commitment.
Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reported Saturday morning that the Cubs are the “lead team” to sign the 25-year-old Tanaka, but this bidding process has been shrouded in mystery and there probably won’t be much factual reporting on the exact offers until after the Japanese right-hander settles with a team.
For what it’s worth, Nikkan Sports pegs the D’Backs’ proposal at six years and nearly $120 million.
Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last season for the NPB’s Rakuten Golden Eagles.
His signing deadline is January 24 at 5:00 p.m. ET. That’s next Friday evening.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.