With the news coming out on Tuesday that the Ratuken Eagles are indeed posting star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka for MLB teams, the rumor mills are running wild with which teams might be the favorite to land the 25-year-old righty who went 24-0 in Japan last season.
The Yankees seem to be the favorites because of their desperation and their unlimited budget, but don't count out the Texas Rangers.
If the Rangers could manage to make room in their payroll for Tanaka, who will cost $20 million in posting fees on top of whatever he gets in terms of a contract, which is expected to be in the $100 million range, look out.
Tanaka's addition would allow the Rangers to have all kinds of flexibility on their pitching staff, assuming they wouldn't have to trade someone like Derek Holland to free up money to sign Tanaka. Bringing in Tanaka would give them a young, locked up starting rotation of Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Holland, Martin Perez and Tanaka.
That would allow the Rangers to shift Alexi Ogando back to the bullpen, where he's probably best suited, anyway. They'd also have the flexibility of Robbie Ross, giving them two relievers who could be called upon to start in case of an injury. This doesn't even consider the possibility of Colby Lewis coming back from his arm and hip surgeries and making the big-league roster out of spring training.
It's true, the Rangers aren't the favorites to land Tanaka to pair with Darvish, but they've been underdogs plenty of times in free agency battles and have made a habit of flying under the radar and getting their targets.