Rangers plan to place bid on Japanese ace Tanaka
Texas not expected to land highly coveted pitcher under new posting system
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Rangers are planning to submit a posting bid on Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka if he becomes available this winter, according to a source.
The problem is nobody knows when the new posting system will go into effect or if Tanaka will be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles when it does.
The new system is expected to have a $20 million cap on the posting fee, which goes directly to the Japanese club that loses a player to the Major Leagues. That's far less than the $51.7 million fee paid by the Rangers to the Nippon-Ham Fighters two years ago for the right to sign Yu Darvish.
Rakuten president Yozo Tachibana arrived at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday and said he is "disappointed" in the new system, which hasn't been officially implemented. The Golden Eagles are considering not posting Tanaka this winter, although Tachibana said he will talk to his star pitcher before making that decision.
"First of all, [I'll] discuss it with him," Tachibana said. "I don't know if he wants to do it."
The Rangers are interested in Tanaka but don't expect to sign him. They had sole negotiating rights with Darvish. Under the new system, any club will be able to negotiate with Tanaka as long as it is willing to pay the $20 million bid. Only the team that signs Tanaka would actually lose the $20 million.
The Rangers expect the Dodgers and the Yankees, among other teams, to go hard after Tanaka, who was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 28 games this past season.
• General manager Jon Daniels said reliever Tanner Scheppers could get stretched out as a starter in Spring Training. But it's more likely that he'll be used in the bullpen and is a candidate to be the Rangers' closer. Said Daniels, "He is interested in starting and also interested in closing."
• Daniels said the Rangers are fielding calls from clubs asking about some of their relievers.
• Former Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski was at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday to have lunch with White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Pierzynski lives in the Orlando area and recently agreed to a one-year deal with the Red Sox.
• Pierzynski on staying in the American League, "Well I hope it helps. But at the end of the day, guys change teams and change leagues all the time. It's not like it used to be, where there was no free agency, no bouncing around. It definitely helps being in the American League, a lot of these same guys are recycled through. When you change teams, you find out new things about new people you never heard before. I know coming from Texas, [pitching coach] Mike Maddux was one of the best at scouting reports. Hopefully he taught me some things that I can kind of learn."
• Daniels and manager Ron Washington are planning to attend a meeting Thursday on the expansion of instant replay.
• The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported the Rangers are interested in free-agent pitcher Bartolo Colon on a one-year deal. That would give the Rangers some depth in the starting rotation and allow them to keep Alexi Ogando in the bullpen.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.