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Report: Rakuten making bid to keep Masahiro Tanaka

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

So … Will he or won't he? (USATSI)
So … Will he or won't he? (USATSI)

MORE: FA tracker: position players | FA tracker: pitchers

As far as coveted Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is concerned, the plot continues to thicken. Tanaka has stated his wish to be posted and pitch in the U.S. major leagues starting next season. However, his current club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, is understandably put off by the new posting agreement and is hoping to persuade Tanaka to stick around for at least another year.

To that end, Rakuten has reportedly made an offer to Tanaka for 2014. Here's the relevant tweet from NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman, an authority on the topic of Japanese baseball:

A crude translation of the story suggests that Rakuten is prepared to offer 800 million Japanese Yen, which would come to $7,728,000. Given the lowered posting fee and what's sure to be healthy demand for Tanaka's services throughout MLB, he stands to make at least twice that on an annual basis if he makes the leap. However, perhaps familiarity and a sense of loyalty is enough to make up the difference.

If nothing else, Rakuten isn't going to let their ace get away without a fight. Given that Tanaka, who's still just 25, is coming off a seaon in which he went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and pitched his team to the championship, Rakuten's attachment is easy to understand.

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