The question remains on whether or not Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka will be posted by his team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles. Tanaka had expressed his interest in Major League Baseball, but his team seems hesitant to post him with the new changes to the posting system.
With teams only allowed to bid up to $20MM, should the Brewers take a shot at Tanaka?
Yozo Tachibana, the president of the Golden Eagles, has been trying to keep Tanaka in Japan, but those efforts may be for nothing if the 25-year-old wishes to pitch in the United States, or Canada if the Toronto Blue Jays are in the mix. Recent reports out of the New York Times say that the Golden Eagles want to meet with Tanaka about staying in Japan and not make the trip to North America. Of course, Tanaka is under team control in Japan so it’s hard for him to really make an official stance.
That said, let’s hypothetically say Tachibana and the rest of the Golden Eagles let Tanaka pitch in North America, now what? It becomes a bidding war between all 30 teams to see who will get to talk to him with the maximum bid now lowered for all the teams to have a fair shot. That said, the new rules state that the player, in this case Tanaka, would be able to choose which teams he would want to discuss a contract with. Those teams however must have made the exact same bids for the player.
If the Brewers wanted to go all out, then Tanaka would be right up their alley. He’s a young pitcher who has had much success at a professional level and even helped his team win the Japan Series this past year. He’s someone that many teams want to structure their rotations around and in Milwaukee, he would be a tremendous fit.
I’m not going to go into all the details about Tanaka, you can read that here. However, I will say that adding him to a rotation full of uncertainty would help clarify the direction of where they’re going. At some point, I would trade Yovani Gallardo instead of Kyle Lohse because not only is it salary you’re saving, but after his disaster plagued 2013, a rotation with Lohse and Tanaka at the helms would thrive tremendously.
Tanaka would be the workhorse of this rotation and a much coveted pitcher all around in baseball. Perhaps the Brewers may have a future workhorse someday in Wily Peralta, but if you want proven talent, then Tanaka is your man. He’s a guy that would more than likely be around for more than a year and could seriously help the pitching complement the Brew Crew’s potent offense, making Milwaukee a dangerous team.
The danger with Tanaka is you don’t want to put your eggs all in one basket for him, because he may not be posted at all. Secondly, you have no idea if his success in Japan will translate to that of a Yu Darvish or Kei Igawa in the United States. Only time will tell what will happen with the right-hander and even though I know Milwaukee won’t pursue him, it still would be nice if they at least threw his name around.