Baseball's Hot Stove season has slowed over the past few weeks, partly because of the usual lull around the holidays but mostly because of the Japanese pitching sensation whose previous uncertainty and eventual posting has held up the market for fellow free-agent starters.

His name, of course, is Masahiro Tanaka. The Angels, in need of one more starting pitcher to round out their rotation, would love to work out something with him, but the odds are currently stacked against them. There's a lot of competition from other teams, a lot of unknowns about the 25-year-old right-hander, and a lot of money already tied to a payroll that's quickly approaching the luxury-tax threshold.

The question is: Do the Angels have another offseason stunner left in them?

One year after shocking the nation by plucking Josh Hamilton from the Rangers with a five-year, $125 million contract and two years removed from coming out of nowhere to sign Albert Pujols away from the Cardinals with a 10-year, $240 million deal, can they land the ballyhooed Tanaka with a contract many have projected to top $100 million over the course of six seasons?

More important, would it be prudent to do so?

There are two schools of thought here.

One is that the uncertainty regarding Tanaka -- the workload he's already taken on, not to mention his transition to the United States -- and the lucrative contracts already on the Angels' payroll make signing him too much of a gamble.

The other is that this is as good a time as any to splurge, because Tanaka is a free agent at a relatively young age, has more upside than any other available pitcher, won't cost a Draft pick and the Angels -- their championship window closing tighter by the year -- still badly need high-upside starting pitching.