Dec 11, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Rakuten Golden Eagles president Yozo Tachibana (right) walks through the lobby during the MLB Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Tachibana has not decided whether or not to allow Masahiro Tanaka (not pictured) to sign with a MLB team now that Nippon Professional Baseball and the MLB have agreed on a $20 Million maximum posting bid. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Were the Royals Really Interested in Masahiro Tanaka?

It was a rumor that refused to go away. Somehow, despite everything in their history indicating otherwise, the Royals were still expected to be interested in Masahiro Tanaka. Dayton Moore refused to give a definitive answer one way or the other in terms of the Royals interest, and with a possible hole in the rotation, Tanaka would have made sense as a target. Factoring in that the $20 Million posting fee was refunded if Tanaka did not sign, and that the fee could be paid over two seasons, there appeared to be a way for the Royals to actually be involved in contract discussions.

Instead, Tanaka signed with the New York Yankees, inking a seven year, $155 Million contract with an opt-out clause after the fourth year. That deal gives Tanaka the fifth largest contract for any starting pitcher, and the largest ever for an international signing. Considering that he has never thrown a major league pitch, it is certainly a risk, although it is one that the Yankees felt they had to take.

Considering the contract that Masahiro Tanaka received, were the Royals really interested in acquiring his services? Five teams made contract offers to the Japanese righty, yet the Royals were not one of those clubs. When he traversed the country meeting with potential suitors, the Royals did not come up as one of those teams that Tanaka met with.

It is certainly possible that the Royals did have interest in signing Tanaka at one point, but learned early on that they would not be able to afford the type of contract that he was looking for. However, Moore continued to evade any definitive statements in regards to Tanaka, perhaps leading to the thought that the Royals were, in some way, still involved. If nothing else, that supposed interest may have helped to drive up Tanaka’s price a bit more, keeping him from the White Sox, who did make an offer.

We may never know what the Royals intentions were in regards to Masahiro Tanaka. If they remained linked to Tanaka just to put the thought in another team’s head that they could make him a contract and drive up his value, then that strategy may have worked. The only thing that is positive is that Tanaka is going to be calling the Bronx home for at least the next four seasons. The Royals may have actually had interest in him at one time, but we may never know for certain.

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Tags: Kansas City Royals Masahiro Tanaka

  • cardsfanatik

    I am of the opinion that baseball needs a salary cap. For the good of the game. I’m sure I’m not alone in the fact that small market teams are not as competitive. It’s a shame, for the sport and the fan base. Take this Tanaka signing, the Skank’s have been preaching about staying under the 189, well, we see how that ended. While Cashman/Steinbrenner is paying someone in the commissioner’s office, so he doesn’t have to pay A-Rod, (I know he’s probably not paying someone, but come on) The Yankees gave Rodriguez that albatross contract, it is up to the team to make sure their players are on the up and up, the Yankees should have to pay him that money, then Alex should have to donate it to a charity. The fact that of all the teams in baseball that get a bail out is the Yankees is bullshit. Teams like the Yankees and Dodgers are ruining baseball for everyone. I for one am tired of it. I ask you this, what one person on this planet is worth 200 million dollars over the course of a 7-10 year span? NONE!!! There are countries not worth that much money. I am a Royal’s fan yes, but I am a baseball fan first. When it gets to the point, which it has, that teams like the Royal’s, Padre’s, Pirate’s, Brewer’s, etc, can’t even fish in the same pond for talent, something is wrong. There is no reason for it. Salary Cap didn’t hurt football, Baseball is America’s pastime right? The American dream is supposed to be an even playing field for everyone, right? Wrong. Big money talks, and you know what walks. Team’s like the Yankees, that spend completely stupid, should be punished for it. You want someone to thank for why your team can’t keep their beloved home grown player…..Steinbrenner, may he burn in a firey pit in the deepest darkest corner of hell. I know Royal’s fans hate the Cardinal’s, not sure why though, I think that if the Royal’s followed their business model, they may find some success. The Cardinal’s spend more money than the Royal’s yes, but do they get retarded? Nope, Pujols walked, cause their not going to go Yankee style. No team can, thats the point. Its unfair, and should be unconstitutional in my opinion. I have hope for the Royal’s this year, but until Moore proves that he can continue to draft high talent, with lower draft picks, because with successful seasons, come lower draft picks, there is not much hope for the future. The Royal’s can’t fish in the same pond as the Yankee’s, Dodger’s, Angel’s, etc. Something needs to be done to even the playing field a bit. Anyway, thanks for sticking with me through my rant, I’ll hang up now. I’m just sick and tired of everyone in the industry being able to narrow down A+ talent to 3 or 4 teams. Its stale, and just feeds my hatred for teams like the prima donna Skank’s and their spoiled brat fan base.

    • unclejesse40

      I agree with you. It makes me mad that there is not a salary cap but yet they sure as heck put one on international signings which was one way that the Royals were able to find good young talent. Yet when the wealthy teams really want someone they will just pay the penalty and miss out the following year, but when multiple big money teams have this mentality good luck being able to sign the stud Latin kids in KC. I will not pretend to know what the answer is but I think it is very important for MLB to figure out how to level the playing field for the good of the MLB brand.

    • Eric Akers

      It used to be the case in the draft as well. The Royals for a long time stayed away from draft picks because of the money they were asking for. It was only when they started spending in the draft that they were able to get some better talent. At least the draft has been improved. It could be better still, but it is much better than it was.

      I agree with a salary cap. Maybe revenue sharing from TV contracts in some way as well.

    • Dave Hill

      I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment. Institute a salary cap and a salary floor, so that teams like the Marlins cannot just be a personal ATM for ownership.

  • jessanders

    I, for one, don’t believe Tanaka is worth anything near this kind of money.

    i’m not a professional scout, but this kind of money is predicting 4-5 WAR every season of his career as the minimum for them to be paying market value.

    The baseball is bigger, the hitters are much better, and the strike zone is tighter.

    I can see Tanaka easily being a 3 WAR pitcher, but Jimenez, Garza and Santana are all ~3 WAR pitchers.

    Personally, I’m happy the Royals weren’t really “in” on this.

  • moretrouble

    Tanaka going to the Yankees is about the worst thing that could have happened to KC. The Royals will be in direct competition with the Yanks for a playoff spot. Far better for Tanaka to have gone to the NL. If the Yanks have everyone healthy, plus Tanaka, they’ve become a contender. The KC path to the playoffs just got a bit tougher.

  • unclejesse40

    Garza just signed a 4 year 52 million deal. Is it possible that the Royals could get Santana for something like that? Good God trade Hoch, and Davis and free up the money now!

  • jimfetterolf

    Garza just signed with Milwaukee for 4/52. Makes getting Santana back look a little more possible.

    • Dave Hill

      Looks like you, Unclejesse and I were all thinking the same thing when the news on Garza broke. I’ll write something up on that for tomorrow.

      • jimfetterolf

        Garza’s numbers really surprised me. Could MLB be coming down with an attack of good sense after the ridiculous money spent on Cano and Tanaka? I’ld have little problem with 4/52 for Santana, would make it easier to survive Shields moving on, although I think his demands may also moderate a little.

        • Dave Hill

          I actually think that Santana could get a bit less than Garza. Garza did not have draft pick compensation, so the Brewers may have been willing to spend a bit more because of that. If that puts Santana at four years at $44 Million, that would be an excellent signing.

          • jimfetterolf

            Garza required no draft pick, was more consistent, but less durable. Santana requires a pick for others, had a good ’13 after a bad ’12, and is durable. 4/44 would be a steal, I’m thinking maybe 4/48 with incentives on innings, if he breaks 200 innings a year it’s an extra one million. That way he could get 52 with 4 solid years. Under $52m while retaining the ability to trade him to most teams and I can live with that. Between the draft pick and the Royals being the best fit for Santana that should give the Royals an edge.