Report: Angels Very Interested in Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro TanakaThe Los Angeles Angels’ biggest offseason move might be their next one.

The Angels are very interested in Masahiro Tanaka, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Halos already have added Tyler Skaggs, Hector Santiago and Mark Mulder to a rotation mix that includes Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards and Joe Blanton, but the moves reportedly won’t preclude L.A. from pursuing the best — and most expensive — pitcher available on the free-agent market.

Tanaka, who was recently posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, could command a contract in excess of $100 million in addition to the $20 million posting fee that his signing team must pay his former Japanese club. The 25-year-old is considered a potential ace, though, so the Angels, among others, might decide that opening up the checkbook is a worthwhile gamble.

MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports that the Angels want to keep their first-round pick in this year’s draft. That means free agents Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez, who rejected qualifying offers at the beginning of free agency, won’t be options, as each would require the Angels to surrender their first-round pick. The next-best options then would be Matt Garza and Bronson Arroyo unless Los Angeles decides to really make a splash by signing Tanaka.

Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA with Rakuten in 2013.

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Photo via Facebook/Masahiro Tanaka