Masahiro Tanaka is finally coming to the MLB. Which team will sign him?
The Robinson Cano deal will almost certainly be the biggest deal of the MLB offseason, but there are plenty of moves left to be made that could shape the roster of next year’s contenders. Here is some of the latest buzz surrounding a few of the hottest names on the market.
Rays Willing to Be Patient with David Price
Starting pitcher David Price is one of the biggest names that has been dangled in trade talks, but the Tampa Bay Rays are in no rush to trade the former Cy Young winner, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:
There is no deadline, no drop-dead date by which the Rays have to make a deal or tell Price he isn't being traded. Reports that they are motivated to do so by Dec. 31 to hand off payment of $4 million in deferred money are incorrect: The payment isn't due until Oct. 1, and it is the Rays' obligation, so really a nonfactor, as including it would be the same as asking for cash in a deal and subject to MLB approval.
Topkin reports that the Rays are willing to listen on Price, but they aren’t going to pull the trigger on a deal unless they get a package of young talent.
The Seattle Mariners have been discussed as the favorite to land Price, but those talks seem to have stalled due to Seattle’s unwillingness to part with top prospect Taijuan Walker:
1 thing's settled in price trade talk (says seattle person, "taijuan walker will be on our club") http://t.co/TWvmwyIkcU— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 20, 2013
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Rays are looking for “at least three good players, major league-ready or top prospects.”
Whether any pitcher-needy teams are willing to match that asking price remains to be seen, but it is clear that Tampa Bay isn’t going to make a panic trade. Its trade partner will have to be ready to pony up to acquire the left-handed ace.
Market Has Been Slow for Bronson Arroyo
Bronson Arroyo may not be a young arm, but he brings durability and experience to the table for any team looking for pitching depth. As such, there have been plenty of reports indicating that Arroyo has been a hot commodity. Those rumors are false, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick:
Arroyo said the Cincinnati Reds have not offered him a one-year deal—as has been reported—and denies that he was ever close to an agreement with the Minnesota Twins. Those two teams could ultimately be in the mix for him, but at the moment, his 2014 destination is a mystery.
Arroyo had even been linked to the Atlanta Braves, but David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reveals that the Braves never had any interest in the starter:
The right-handed starter is still waiting for someone to offer him a job, but the buzz surrounding his supposed offers is erroneous.
Crasnick mentioned the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks as potential fits for the 36-year-old, but there have only been preliminary discussions with the Yankees. The Minnesota Twins do have some interest in Arroyo, but they have already spent about $84 million on Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey this offseason.
#MNTwins FA update: there's still dialogue between them & Arroyo, I'm told. Suk Min-Yoon: "on the radar, but a lower priority," per source.— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) December 23, 2013
There are plenty of teams that could use reliable pitching, but the market on Arroyo probably isn’t going to move until the frenzy over Masahiro Tanaka subsides and some of the other big-name pitchers on the market (e.g. Ervin Santana and Matt Garza) sign deals.
Let the Bidding War for Masahiro Tanaka Begin
It finally happened—star Japanese prospect Masahiro Tanaka was posted by his Japanese team, and the bidding frenzy will be fierce.
Source: Tanaka posting will begin Thursday morning and be completed by January 24 at 5:00 pm.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 25, 2013
Teams can post their bid of up to $20 million for the right to negotiate with Tanaka, and with many teams expected to reach that mark, he will basically be a free agent with plenty of offers to choose from.
Tanaka could be in store for a gigantic payday, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney:
One exec last week said he believes Tanaka will get a deal in the $150m range. Also: Wonder how Yu Darvish will feel about the new system?— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 25, 2013
Marc Carig of Newsday.com reports that high-profile teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks are highly interested in the 25-year-old and expected to be among his biggest suitors.
Right now, it’s anybody’s guess as to where Tanaka will end up, but one thing is certain: He won’t be lacking for offers.