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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

December 30, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Tracking Tanaka and other things …

With a new year getting closer, one of my resolutions is trying to get up some more blog content. The hot stove season has slowed a little with many teams immersing themselves in the sweepstakes for Masahiro Tanaka. It seems as though every team is considering making a push for him. But how many have legitimate chances at him? Maybe three or four have the money to stay in the bidding process. Unfortunately, this won’t be as fast as Yasiel Puig driving down the freeway.

The Mariners should be one of those teams. Although, Tanaka’s overall price might push them over their projected budget for this season (estimated around $100 million), general manager Jack Zduriencik has maintained that he could go to CEO Howard Lincoln for special circumstances to exceed the budget. This should be one of those times. It’s not often you can go out and get a projected frontline starter that’s only 25 without having to give anything up other than money. There is speculation that Tanaka’s cost will be about $15-17 million per year. If the price is too great, the Mariners then need to look to Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana. It will cost them a second round pick, and there might be an overpay. But going into the season relying on two largely unproven rookies and my cousin, Erasmo Ramirez, who has had injury issues in the past, would be foolish.

Yes, there is a concern about Tanaka’s workload, which Yahoo’s Jeff Passan addresses in this column. Yes, it seems like Daisuke Matsuzaka is the cautionary tale. But really, investing pitching is always a risk.

Former Mariners special assistant Tony Blengino broke down Tanaka’s appeal and also addressed his workload. 

MLB officials are going to make sure that Tanaka isn’t being pressured to give some of his expected $100 million contract back to his NPB team as compensation for posting him this year.

As usual, Zduriencik and the Mariners are being very quiet about this process. They never talk about negotiations.  But it seems this is even more secretive. There is an interest in acquiring Tanaka and they will make an offer. But beyond that, there is little information leaking out. I would expect any leaked information to be coming out of New York.

Speaking of New York, the Yankees will likely go over the $189 million luxury tax if they sign Tanaka per Ken Rosenthal. That luxury tax limit was used as reasoning for many of the decisions in the last two seasons.

Arizona GM Kevin Towers and the D’Backs reps are looking to fly to Japan to meet with him.

Elsewhere… 

Kendrys Morales is still an option for the Orioles

Nick Cafardo’s Sunday column in the Globe is always good reading. He lists his hall of fame vote (no Edgar Martinez). And he mentions in his notes that teams have been turned off by Nelson Cruz’s contract demands. He mentions 4-years, $75 million.

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