The Royals are Still Linked to Masahiro Tanaka
By David Hill
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
Much like a persistent cough, high petrol prices or Miley Cyrus, the rumors that the Royals are going to be at least participants in the Masahiro Tanaka Sweepstakes refuse to go away. No matter how often it is stated that the Royals are up against their payroll cap, the Royals are still mentioned as a potential landing spot for the Japanese right hander, regardless of how unlikely such a scenario may be.
It is easy to understand why the Royals may be listed as a potential destination for Tanaka. They appear to have a need for another starting pitcher to slot between James Shields and Jeremy Guthrie, and Tanaka would fit the bill. The Royals would not actually need to pay the posting fee if they are unsuccessful in landing Tanaka, so there is certainly no harm in at least kicking the tires and seeing what his thoughts are about powder blue. And that posting fee? Well, it turns out that it can be paid in installments, similar to a layaway plan at your local Wal-Mart. Perhaps that could entice David Glass to be willing to foot that bill.
Also, no matter how many times it is reported that they are up against their salary limit, there is always the caveat that they could spend more money on ‘the right player.’ For the Royals, Masahiro Tanaka may be that player. At age 25, he is just about to enter his theoretical prime, and could help anchor the rotation for the next few years.
Then there are the answers, or, more specifically, non-answers from Dayton Moore. Moore has refused to answer one way or the other as to any possible interest that the Royals would have in Tanaka, and for good reason. Not only does a refusal to answer not give away their position, but it gives other interested clubs another team to keep in mind when making their offers.
"“That’s nothing I’d really say about that, because it doesn’t benefit the Royals in any way to announce what we’re doing or what we’re not doing,” Moore said. “There’s nothing I can really say about that. It’s a private negotiation.”"
As unlikely as it may seem for the Royals to actually sign Masahiro Tanaka, the rumors just will not go away. Maybe, just maybe, the Royals have one more signing up their sleeve.