The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles appear to be playing the most epic game of chicken in history with star right-handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
After earlier reports suggested the team was not going to put Tanaka up for Major League Baseball teams to bid on, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, citing a report from Japan's Sankei Sports, broke the story on Dec. 24 that the 25-year-old will be posted.
Golden Eagles announce Tanaka will be posted, according to Sankei Sports. RT @sankeisports: イーグルス、田中将大の新ポスティング制度による移籍を容認すると発表しました。— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) December 25, 2013
Rakuten's decision to post Masahiro Tanaka was announced by team president Yozo Tachibana.— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) December 25, 2013
Tanaka is one of the biggest talents left on the MLB open market and one of the last large pieces to the offseason puzzle. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound righty recorded a 99-35 record with a 2.30 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over seven seasons in the Japan Pacific League. He's racked up 1,238 strikeouts to just 275 walks.
Last season he dominated hitters to the tune of a 24-0 record with a 1.27 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 183 strikeouts to just 32 walks in 212 innings pitched. Those kinds of numbers would leave any MLB general manager drooling.
With Tanaka season officially here, the MLB floodgates will open.
In an effort to bring some order to what will surely be madness, here are our odds for the likely suitors to land Tanaka.
Note: All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.