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Masahiro Tanaka won't be posted, reports say
Masahiro Tanaka, the highly coveted Japanese starting pitcher, won't be allowed to pitch in the United States, according to reports from Japan cited by the New York Times and Peter Gammons on Thursday morning.
Tanaka is reportedly a major target for several MLB organizations -- though the Yankees are reportedly ready to move on from their pursuit.
Despite the Japanese ace declaring on Tuesday that he wanted to pitch in MLB, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, the Japan club that holds Tanaka's rights through the 2015 season, have not seemed ready to let him leave.
As of 12:30 p.m. EST, well past midnight in Tokyo, there had been no official word from Rakuten.
Tanaka was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 2013.
The Yankees will look for other pitching targets, according to a new report from ESPN NY, citing a source. "We've seen this coming for a couple of days now," the source said. "So it's not surprising at all."
Due to a new posting agreement reached by Nippon Professional Baseball, Japan's league, and MLB, team's that control a player's rights can only make a maximum of $20 million on the posting fee that allows the player to come to the U.S. Prior to this month's deal, there was no maximum posting value and Rakuten was expected to make well over $50 million by posting Tanaka.
Now, several Japanese media organizations are reporting that Rakuten could double or triple Tanaka's $4 million salary while the team reaps the financial benefits of contending for another season or two.
The move could greatly influence the offseason plans of the Yankees. Though the team has remade much of their lineup after missing the playoffs in 2013, the rotation remains a concern. Behind an expected front three of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova, a group of largely inexperienced arms will compete for the final two spots.
Additionally, top free agent starters such as Ervin Santana and Matt Garza could see their markets get a boost if Tanaka is no longer an option.