Yankees officials are expected to meet with coveted Japanese righthander Masahiro Tanaka during his visit to the United States, a person familiar with the team's plans said Thursday.
It is unclear where the Yankees will meet with Tanaka. "Every team has agreed it is not going to say when they will meet with him, where they will meet with him or anything about it," the source said.
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Tanaka is said to be on the West Coast and plans to meet with several teams. The Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Angels and White Sox reportedly also are interested. The source said the Yankees expect him to command a $100-million contract.
Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 2013 for Rakuten, his Japanese team. Rakuten will receive a $20-million posting fee from the major-league team that signs Tanaka. The deal must be completed by Jan. 24 or Tanaka will be forced to return to his team in Japan.
The Yankees appear willing to move off their desired $189-million luxury-tax threshold to make room for Tanaka, a potential top-of-the-rotation addition.
"The whole $189-million issue is subject to having a championship team," the source said.
The Yankees will be subject to a stringent luxury tax if they exceed that figure in 2014, but that threshold still might be possible to maintain, depending upon the outcome of Alex Rodriguez's appeal of his 211-game suspension. He is contracted to make $25 million this season. A $3-million signing bonus is due Jan. 15 and will be paid out regardless of the arbitrator's decision, a source said. That decision is expected any day.
There appears to be no negotiation between Major League Baseball and Rodriguez's camp to reduce the suspension.