Masahiro Tanaka, the biggest free agent name left on the market and the next big Japanese pitching import, arrived in the United States this week as he landed in Los Angeles.
Tanaka, a 25-year-old who went 24-1 last year in the Nippon Baseball League in Japan, and sports a split-finger fastball said to be comparable to John Smoltz's, is in Los Angeles and reportedly underwent a physical on Thursday with plans to release the results to all interested teams today.
We're more than halfway to the date which Tanaka will be able to agree with a club under the new posting rules that allow any number of teams to negotiate with Tanaka for the cool price of $20 million instead of just one team paying whatever they please (see the Texas Rangers with Yu Darvish and $51 million).
So far, it appears some of the clubhouse favorites to land Tanaka include the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Arizona Diamondbacks, Seattle Mariners and the Boston Red Sox.
As always, the Rangers are a stealth pick to fly under the radar and land Tanaka, who is an offseason workout partner of Darvish's and who could possibly get enough money to sign Tanaka, if they wanted, by selling the naming rights to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington — an idea first floated by The Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant that seems to be gaining some traction.