The 30-day negotiating period for teams to court Masahiro Tanaka has begun. And the Yankees have made it clear they are quite interested in the 25-year-old right-hander. The Mariners have been linked to them. Sources have said they are interested in Tanaka for all the logical reasons that have been discussed often. Here’s some more verification from the NY Daily News.
Obviously, we know that the Mariners have had a great track record with Japanese players, Seattle is one of the closest MLB teams to Japan, the Mariners have a large presence in Japan because of the time Ichiro Suzuki spent in Seattle and Tanaka’s former teammate Hisashi Iwakuma is flourishing here. All of those things could be factors in Tanaka’s decision. But money and years on a contract will likely be just as big, if not bigger, factors.
Tanaka has hired Casey Close to be his agent. Close has Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira among his clients.
Expect the rumors to start heating up in the next week with possible salary offers starting to leak out. SI’s Tom Verducci looks at Tanaka’s workload in Japan and how it might affect his value here.
Shin Soo-Choo was officially announced as a free agent today in Dallas.
There was a hope among many Mariners fans that he might sign with Seattle. There is of course a level of frustration since Choo was in the organization and traded to the Indians for Ben Broussard in 2006. Rob Neyer of SB Nation was able to get former GM Bill Bavasi to comment on the trade. Bavasi was brutally honest in an email to Neyer, taking full blame for the trade of Choo and also trading Asdrubal Cabrera to the Indians for Eduardo Perez, and saying at the end, “I blew it.”
A few writers ran into Bavasi in Cincinnati this past season. We talked a little baseball and he discussed his mistakes. He mentioned Choo and Cabrera and also what a colossal mistake it was to trade Adam Jones and Chris Tillman and three other players for Erik Bedard before the 2008 season. It was something he hinted to in his press conference after being fired.
Those mistakes proved pretty costly for the Mariners. If you couple that with the failed drafts during that regime (Jeff Clement instead of Troy Tulowitzki and Brandon Morrow instead of Tim Lincecum to name a few), those are mistakes that hurt organizations for more than a season or two. I respect Bavasi for owning his mistakes. But I’m sure most Mariners fans will take little solace in it.
Elsewhere, Dan Szymborski’s ZIPS projections are out and Dave Cameron breaks them down at USS Mariner. The system projects the Mariners to win 77 games.