Yankees

Report: Masahiro Tanaka Expected To Choose Team No Later Than Wednesday

Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka of Japan pitches during the World Baseball Classic at Tokyo Dome on March 8, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka of Japan pitches during the World Baseball Classic at Tokyo Dome on March 8, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The clock is ticking, as Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has until Friday at 5 p.m. to sign a deal with a major-league team.

But hold the suspense. It looks like it won’t come down to the wire.

An American League scout told David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com that the 25-year-old is expected to select his team by Tuesday or Wednesday, leaving enough time for details to be finalized before the deadline.

The Yankees are among five finalists that have put in bids for Tanaka, according to a report from NikkanSports.com.

In addition to the Yanks, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks are reportedly the only teams still in the running for Tanaka’s services. The premier hurler on the market is expected to sign a contract in excess of $100 million.

The Yankees have reportedly been interested in Tanaka for months now — well before he was posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball. The Bronx Bombers desperately need to add a starter — or two. The only locks for next season’s rotation are CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova.

The five-time NPB All-Star was brilliant for the Golden Eagles last season, going 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA.

On Tuesday, Tanaka tweeted what could be construed as a cryptic message.

The tweet translates in English to “I can’t decide it.”

Is Tanaka still unsure about where he wants to sign? Maybe, maybe not.

FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal said on the MLB Network on Tuesday that Tanaka wants followers to help him pick a new avatar, so the tweet could have been in reference to that.

For what it’s worth, one unnamed Yankees official told the New York Post last week that he’s not completely sold on the Japanese star.

“We’ll find out soon enough, but it’s not like he’s a sure-fire thing,” the unnamed official told the newspaper. “I’d like to think so, but I’m not convinced … Just because he had great success over there doesn’t mean he’s going to be lights out here.”

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