Masahiro Tanaka’s Top Suitors Include Yankees, Cubs, But Dark Horses Could Alter Sweepstakes (Photos)

Masahiro TanakaThe Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes is in full swing.

The Rakuten Golden Eagles announced Tuesday that Tanaka will be posted, thus making the pitcher available to all 30 Major League Baseball teams. The announcement ended months of speculation about if Tanaka’s Japanese club would make him available this offseason, and the story now centers on which teams will extend the greatest offers.

Under the new Japanese posting system, MLB teams can bid as much as $20 million for the right to talk with players who are posted. It’s a major change from the previous system, in which Daisuke Matsuzka and Yu Darvish earned their Japanese clubs $51.1 million and $51.7 million, respectively. Any of the 30 major-league teams can talk with Tanaka now that he has been posted, provided they are willing to pay Rakuten the posting fee if the 25-year-old eventually signs with them.

The list of serious suitors might not be too long, as Tanaka could land a contract in excess of $100 million — in addition to the posting fee. The right-hander is coming off a season in Japan’s Pacific League in which he went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA, and many believe he’s even better than Darvish, who already has enjoyed major-league success with the Texas Rangers. Plus, Tanaka is just 25, so he’s the type of pitcher an organization can build around.

The New York Yankees have been linked to Tanaka for a while, so despite already making a number of major offseason moves, the Bronx Bombers are considered the front-runners for the pitcher’s services. New York could have company in the bidding, though, so negotiations between Tanaka and major-league teams should get interesting over the next month.

Where will Tanaka land? Right now, it’s anyone’s guess. But you can get a good idea of the teams likely to be involved by hitting the link below, which includes projected odds for the top 10 potential suitors.

Click here for Masahiro Tanaka’s top 10 suitors >>

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Photo via Facebook/Masahiro Tanaka

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