If Masahiro Tanaka has his way, he'll be pitching in Boston, Los Angeles or New York in 2014, according to The San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea. While those three cities are home to five teams, neither the Boston Red Sox nor the New York Mets are expected to make a serious run at the 25-year-old free agent.
His wife would like to live on the West Coast, per a report from The New York Times' David Waldstein, but both Los Angeles clubs—the Angels and Dodgers—are far from sure things to sign him.
There's no question that the Angels need another starting pitcher, but the team hasn't met with Tanaka, GM Jerry DiPoto told The Los Angeles Times' Mike DiGiovana. Plus, with the roughly $15 million that the team has available before exceeding the luxury tax threshold, Tanaka might be too expensive for them.
After agreeing to a record seven-year, $215 million extension with Clayton Kershaw, originally reported by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the Dodgers may not be the prohibitive favorites to sign Tanaka after all. While Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets that the team still wants to add another pitcher to its already stacked rotation, he notes that veteran free agent Bronson Arroyo is on the team's short list of targets—and that signing Tanaka would be up to ownership, not GM Ned Colletti.
The New York Yankees, long believed to be the Dodgers' biggest competition for Tanaka's services, still desperately want to sign him and have essentially put the rest of their offseason on hold until he decides on his future, according to Anthony McCarron from The New York Daily News.
Even if the Dodgers are out of the Tanaka sweepstakes, the Yankees will still face stiff competition to sign the phenom—from the Chicago Cubs, who plan on offering him a nine-figure deal, according to CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney.
Bringing Tanaka to Wrigley Field would be a major coup for GM Jed Hoyer and team president Theo Epstein. Not only would it give the team a frontline starter in the prime of his career for the foreseeable future, but it could also impact Jeff Samardzija's future with the club (more on that shortly).
Of course, there's always the chance that a "mystery team" seemingly comes out of nowhere and makes Tanaka an offer that he can't refuse. Don't count on the Toronto Blue Jays being that team, however, team sources tell Peter Gammons.
One thing is for sure: at some point over the next week or so, Tanaka is going to become a very, very rich man.