As of right now we're a week away from the Masahiro Tanaka's deadline (Friday, Jan. 24) to choose which team he'll start his MLB career with. In case you aren't familiar, Tanaka is a prized 25 year-old free agent from Japan that the White Sox have been pretty consistently linked to over about the past month or so. We dissected whether signing him would make sense for the south siders previously, which you can read by clicking here.
But long story short, if the dollar figures are right, there's definitely a good argument to be had as to why GM Rick Hahn should go out and get Tanaka over teams like the Cubs, Yankees, and Dodgers.
Well don't you clean up nice. Credit: Kyodo News via AP
Reports have been all over the place, but ever since the White Sox were the only team to officially meet with Tanaka in Los Angeles about a week ago, they've been one of the teams popping up in the sweepstakes' headlines most often.
On Wednesday (Jan. 15), CSN's White Sox Insider Dan Hayes pointed out that while the White Sox' interest was real, but it seems the bidding will just be too high for Rick Hahn to be heavily involved much longer.
But then, less than a few hours later, he tossed up another post outlining that a source had told him the White Sox are still very far from out on Tanaka. And most recently, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported that the Sox, in addition to the Cubs (which we knew) are indeed still threats to the Yankees and the Dodgers.
Tanaka's wife is a celebrity in Japan who would like to live in a big city with good opportunities for her, so it's not much of a surprise that the final three cities on Tanaka's list appear to be LA, NYC, and Chicago.
I could see a Tanaka signing making sense for the White Sox up until around $125MM (assuming a 7-year contract), but not much higher than that. While some have said the Cubs could blow other teams out of the water with an offer and have the bidding wind up not too far from $200MM, I think that's just teams trying to scare one another off.
Heyman also pointed out that the bidding process probably won't end until the deadline or very close to it, so we've likely got another full week of rumors.
But the White Sox' interest, like we said is very real, even if they aren't able to compete financially with the big dogs in the end. I think it'd take some X-Factor for him to become a south sider. Maybe he'd really want to pitch behind Chris Sale in the rotation. Maybe he'd like being in a big city but not being under the brightest of spotlights. Or maybe he's a Wow Bao guy. Yeah, there's one in The Cell now.
But in all seriousness I think you catch my drift. It'd likely just take a little something to get him in the black pinstripes.
UPDATE 1/18: According to Japan's Nikkan Sports, five teams have put in an official offer to Masahiro Tanaka, including your White Sox. The other teams were the Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs, and Diamondbacks.
Arizona's offer is reportedly at 6 years, $120MM, which definitely shows that at least a couple of the other teams will be decently north of that … $140MM-150MM is beginning to seem like a very realistic possibility.