NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York Yankees — and the rest of Major League Baseball — may have to wait another year for a shot at signing Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka.
Multiple reports out of Japan say the Rakuten Golden Eagles won’t allow Tanaka to make his move to MLB this winter, according to the New York Times.
Tanaka announced his desire to pitch in the U.S. following MLB’s agreement with Nippon Professional Baseball on a new system that would cap the posting fee at $20 million.
“I informed my team that I would like them to allow me to test my abilities in Major League Baseball next season,” Tanaka said Tuesday.
But Eagles president Yozo Tachibana didn’t sound so sure about letting go of Tanaka, who won’t become an international free agent until after the 2015 season: “We told him he is very important to us and we’d like him to stay.”
Rakuten will tell Tanaka of their decision Friday and eventually plan to “offer … double or even triple” his $4 million salary, according to reports relayed by the Times.
The 25-year-old posted incredible numbers for the Japan Series champions in 2013, including a perfect 24-0 record with a 1.27 ERA and eight complete games.
The Yankees were expected to go all in on Tanaka. Now it seems they won’t get that chance, a big blow to an offseason overhaul that has included the departure of second baseman Robinson Cano and the additions of outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and catcher Brian McCann.
Free-agent starting pitchers Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana are still available.
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