So much for the idea that the Royals may be at their payroll limit. In a brief, one-liner throw-in from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, the Royals may be among the teams that will make a push to sign Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka. Seriously.
The Yankees, Cubs, Rangers, and Dodgers should be the most aggressive [to sign Tanaka]. The Angels, Phillies, Royals, and Blue Jays will get into it. Tanaka is going to get the highest contract ever given to a Japanese pitcher.
Did you catch it? Because if you blinked then you totally missed it. Here, try again.
The Angels, Phillies, Royals, and Blue Jays will get into it.
By no means does this mean the Royals are a front-runner for Tanaka, nor does it mean they have the money to outbid MLB’s highest payroll teams. But it appears they are going to at least try, which is incredibly encouraging.
In case you don’t know who Tanaka is, he’s Japans “next” Yu Darvish. Last season he was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 27 starts with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, and just turned 25-years-0ld this past November. He hasn’t had an ERA over 2.50 since 2008 and has had a WHIP over 1.113 just once since 2009. Crazy, crazy numbers.
Given his success in Japan, it is not a surprise there has been so much attention given to him around baseball. Tanaka is the main reason why there has been little movement on the top free agent pitchers on the market – Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana – or in trades – David Price.
Signing Tanaka is a pipe dream for the Royals, but at least they appear willing to jump down the rabbit hole. Who knows, maybe the pipe dream comes true and the Royals come out with the top of the rotation starter they need for 2014. You never know, which is why it is good to hear the Royals are at least trying.