Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka reportedly (h/t CBSSports.com) told the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball that he wants to come to the U.S. in 2014, opening the door for a free-agent frenzy for the 25-year-old right-hander who went 24-0 last season.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants kicked the tires on left-hander Mark Mulder, who said last week he is attempting a comeback after five years out of baseball due to shoulder problems.
According to CSNBayArea.com, Mulder is looking for a major-league deal, something the Giants weren’t willing to extend.
As far as Tanaka goes, changes to the posting agreement between NPB and Major League Baseball will mean a team won’t be forking over $50 million-plus for the rights to negotiate with the right-hander.
Under the new system agreed to last week, any team in MLB is free to negotiate with Tanaka upon a promise to pay the posting fee Rakuten will demand—up to $20 million–with the team that secures his services being the only team that will actually pay the posting fee.
The Giants have retained two starting pitchers and added a third for 2014, agreeing to a two-year, $35 million contract to keep two-time former Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum and re-signing Ryan Vogelsong to a one-year, $5 million contract after declining to pick up his $6.5 million option for 2014.
With incentives, however, Vogelsong could earn more than $6.5 million.
The Giants also added right-hander Tim Hudson, late of the Atlanta Braves, to a two-year, $23 million deal.