Earlier this winter, the New York Yankees lost one of their own players to the Seattle Mariners in second baseman Robinson Cano via free agency. As the Masahiro Tanaka watch continues throughout Major League Baseball, there are many rumors surrounding one of the free agents that the Yankees have been coveting since the beginning of the offseason to fix their rotation. Could Seattle though acquire a second big-time player over the New York Yankees?
In an article written by Ben Badler of Baseball America, the Seattle Mariners are his odds-on favorite to land the Japanese pitching sensation. If the Mariners were able to land Tanaka after putting up the $20 million posting fee, that would add to a rotation that already includes former Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. While the Mariners have added Corey Hart and Logan Morrison during the offseason, there is a sense around baseball that the Mariners still need to make one more big move in a crowded and highly competitive AL West.
Tanaka would provide Seattle with at worst a number three starter and also give time for their young pitching to mature with fewer expectations. One of those pitchers is 21-year-old Taijuan Walker, who has been at the forefront of rumored trade discussions that could involve Tampa Bay Rays’ starter David Price. Plus, Tanaka would be comfortable in Seattle considering Iwakuma used to be one of his teammates with the Rakuten Golden Eagles back in Japan.
Would Seattle have enough for the lucrative contract that Tanaka and his agent, Casey Close, are looking for? They most likely do considering that Cano and Hernandez will make $47 million combined after the 2014 season, no other big contracts are on the books. There are teams like the Yankees who can offer more, but would Tanaka go to a team that he feels more comfortable with instead of taking the most money? We will find out more answers next week when Close returns from vacation on January 6th.