SnakeBytes: Tanakamania Update

Adam Pretty

It's a week today since Masahiro Tanaka was officially posted, and the process began. Though there's still more than three weeks remaining - you didn't think it would be over quickly, did you? - here are a selection of the stories since we got going.

Diamondbacks related

  • [dbacks.com] Chances on landing Masahiro Tanaka? - Steve Gilbert takes reader questions and says, "To make that kind of commitment to a pitcher would be, I think, very tough for them to do. Look for the D-backs to make a run at him, but I would keep those expectations tempered."
  • [Arizona Sports] MLB analyst: Several factors help D-backs in Tanaka sweepstakes - "Every day that goes on is not good news for the Yankees... When they want a guy, when they're aggressive, thrashing around, they normally can close it early. So, to not close it early leads to everyone guessing -- what's the kid want to do? He could end up at one of 25 teams and not surprise anybody. I think he's going to get whatever money wants, so he's going to have to decide where he wants to pitch."
  • [AZ Central] Diamondbacks hoping to have chance to lure Masahiro Tanaka - "Diamondbacks officials are hoping to make their sales pitch with Tanaka in person, and they appear willing to fly to Japan to facilitate a meeting, although no trip has been scheduled."

General news

  • [Yahoo!] Pitch counts are a real concern when it comes to sensation Masahiro Tanaka - Lauded in Japan for his courage and tenacity, Tanaka came off to judicious front offices as reckless. "It worries me a lot," one NL executive said. "Not ideal," one general manager said. "There is definitely reason for concern," another GM said. "Unless he's an outlier," one of the GMs said, "just a tough thing to bet on."
  • [Newsday] Hyperbole is nothing new for Masahiro Tanaka - "Tanaka throws a mid-90s fastball (rare for an NBP pitcher), has impeccable control (1.4 walks per nine innings last year) and uses his split as his out pitch. What makes his high-80s split so effective, [Craig] Brazell said, is that he uses the same arm action as his fastball, leaving a hitter to guess... Marty Brown, who managed Tanaka's team in 2010, said his high pitch counts are less significant because pitchers in Japan typically get six days off between starts compared to four days here. "
  • [Sun Sentinel] Marlins' 3B says Masahiro Tanaka price tag warranted - ex-teammate Casey McGeehee gives a first-hand perspective. “You could see from day one he’s kind of a different animal. He’s unbelievably competitive. The jury is out on how many pitches he has, but he’s got at least three that are weapons, not just pitches he uses here and there. He can lean on any one of his fastball-slider-split at any time."
  • [LA Times] MLB asks Masahiro Tanaka's club for promise of no side deals - MLB "has asked Masahiro Tanaka's Japanese club to provide written assurances it has no side deal with the ace pitcher... to ensure Rakuten got no more than the allowable $20 million for making Tanaka available to MLB clubs."
  • [ESPN Insider] Five teams with best shot at Masahiro Tanaka Jim Bowden has the Yankees as #1, followed by the Angels, Rangers, Dodgers and Braves. However, Dan Szymborski ranks the suitors based on who has most to gain, and comes up with Mariners, Yankees, Phillies, Orioles, Angels, Cubs. Neither writer mentions us...
  • [MLB.com] Tracy Ringolsby: Stars aligned for Masahiro Tanaka to receive mega pay day - "Never has a foreign player had the leverage Tanaka has now that the Rakuten Golden Eagles posted him for Major League teams to bid on... Tanaka will also benefit from Major League teams now being limited on what they can spend on foreign amateurs, and a slotting system being used for signing bonuses in the First-Year Player Draft in addition to a major jump in national television revenue teams will receive in 2014."
  • [CBSSports] The next Japanese star? Tanaka will be much more Darvish than Dice-K "The absolute best of the best over there -- Ichiro, Darvish, Nomo, Hideki Matsui -- can leave those big leagues for these and remain stars. Kaz Matsui and Daisuke Matsuzaka made me forget that. Yu Darvish helped me remember. Hurry up, 2014 season. When do pitchers and catchers report? I sure do want to watch Masahiro Tanaka, and I'm writing that with a smile on my face. Because it feels good to believe."
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