Masahiro Tanaka is now a free agent in Major League Baseball, let the sweepstakes begin. All MLB teams have 30 days to sign Tanaka and the final date to sign him is January 24th. Masahiro Tanaka is a 25 year old all star caliber pitcher from Japan. He went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and lead his Japanese team, the Golden Eagles, to the Japan Series Title. Tanaka’s impressive numbers and potential is going to open the wallets of several clubs in the league. It also helps Tanaka that the free agent market for starting pitchers is slim. Here is a list of the top 4 teams that could land Tanaka.
1. New York Yankees
The Yankees are in desperate need of starting pitching. After CC Sabathia the Yankees starting rotation is filled with average pitching. With a potential ace like Tanaka, that could give the Yankees the one-two punch they are looking for. Tanaka would help solidify the front of the starting rotation. Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova would then become solid 3 and 4 starters.
2. Chicago Cubs
Watch the Cubs and Theo Epstein step up for Tanaka. Some of the Cubs top prospects are only a year or two away from the majors, so Epstein and company are looking for some young major league ready talent to build the club around. Tanaka is what the Cubs want. He’s young, has a load of potential and he is major league ready. Tanaka could lead the Cubs rotation as more young talent starts coming up through the farm system.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
When aren’t the Dodgers in on big time talent? The Dodgers have the money and are clearly in a win now situation. If they add Tanaka, that would give them a rotation of three possible aces with Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke. I never count the Dodgers out on any free agent and I won’t count them out on this one either.
4. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners want to win now. If there is one way to win it is through pitching. A Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Tanaka trio would arguably give the Mariners the best three starting pitchers in the league. With those starting three, plus what the Mariners have already done this off-season, it could put them into contention.