Yankees one of five teams that reportedly have made formal offers to Masahiro Tanaka
And then there were five.
Five big-league teams, including the Yankees, reportedly have made formal offers of at least six years and more than $100 million to Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka as the bidding enters its final stage.
According to Japan's Nikkan Sports, the Yankees were joined by the Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox and Diamondbacks in making megabucks offers to the 25-year-old righthander.
Tanaka must sign with a major-league club by 5 p.m. Friday or his rights will revert to his Japanese team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles. Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for Rakuten in 2013.
Yankees officials had no comment Sunday on the report. Teams have been honoring a gag order since the Tanaka sweepstakes began with his posting Dec. 26.
The winning club, in addition to paying Tanaka, will have to give Rakuten a $20-million posting fee. Tanaka is represented by Casey Close, the agent for Derek Jeter.
The surprise in the final five would have to be Arizona, which is trying to outslug four big-market franchises. The Diamondbacks were reported to have offered Tanaka as much as $120 million over six years, which would be the largest contract in franchise history.
"Like other teams, we're very interested," Arizona CEO Derrick Hall said last week at the owners' meetings. "We want to win this competition."
The Yankees also want to win the competition for Tanaka. At the moment, they have only CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova in their 2014 rotation.
The Dodgers are still in it despite signing Clayton Kershaw to a $215-million extension last week.
The Cubs, who are building slowly under general manager Theo Epstein, and the White Sox are the only clubs known to have met with Tanaka in person, though others likely did, too.