According to industry sources the Yankees are going to be serious players in the Masahiro Tanaka bidding battle next month hoping to fill crater-sized holes in their rotation with a Japanese pitcher who wowed scouts this year. A person familiar with the Yankees’ offseason strategy said Tanaka is a priority in the wake of Andy Pettitte retiring the uncertain future of Hiroki Kuroda and the physical question marks smothering Michael Pineda and Manuel Banuelos. Not only would landing Tanaka improve the rotation it would appease a wary fan base. “The Yankees have seen him a lot’’ said a talent evaluator who watched the 24-year-old right-hander pitch late last month for Japan’s Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. “Boston Texas and the Dodgers will be there too. This guy is very good.’’ The Yankees sent assistant general manager Billy Eppler and respected pro scout and former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu to watch Tanaka pitch extensively this season. General manager Brian Cashman refused comment Thursday when asked about the Yankees’ interest in Tanaka. Tanaka who went 22-0 with a 1.23 ERA in the regular season for the Pacific League champions isn’t eligible for free agency so he has to go through the posting process that can’t begin before Nov. 1 — which is Tanaka’s 25th birthday. If the Japanese series goes seven games it will end Nov. 3. Based on several executives’ opinions the posting price to the Golden Eagles will be in the $60 million range. If the team accepts the bid the winning team has to sign Tanaka to a contract. If they can’t reach a deal Tanaka goes back to the Golden Eagles. A big plus for the Yankees whose goal is stay under $189 million next season is the posting fee doesn’t count toward a team’s payroll. However the contract does and it could be five years for $60 million. What is Tanaka worth? Based on one scout’s opinion more than Yu Darvish who cost the Rangers $111.7 million. The Rangers bid $60 million then signed Darvish to a six-year deal worth $51.7 million.
Yankees expected to bid big on Japanese pitcher
New York Post | Oct 11