Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka improved upon his 24-0 season by pitching a complete game, 1 run, 12 strike out performance against the Yomiuri Giants in Game 2 of the Japanese Fall Classic. Reports were high on his splitter and 95 mph fastball. The video above is from last night/this morning’s performance.
While the Yankees remain the front runners for Tanaka, the Cubs are said to be prioritizing the pitcher this offseason. It’s hard to see the Cubs outbidding the Yankees, who have a ton of money to spend thanks to their $189 million budget plan, but Chicago has been extremely active on the international free agent market lately. It’s clear that Epstein and the rest of his front office like to spend on the international market, and they’ll be a threat to steal the right-hander from the Yankees.
Finally, the MLB and NPB are planning to restructure the current posting agreement before November 1st. Whatever comes of the new system will affect the Tanaka bidding, so keep an eye out for news on that. Obviously the MLB would like something less costly than the current blind bidding process, and the NPB would like corrections to some of the open ended rules, such as one where a player could technically retire and move to the MLB without their NPB teams receiving compensation.