The MLB signing period for Rakuten Golden Eagles right-hander Masahiro Tanaka's is up at 5 p.m. ET on Friday. Otherwise he must return to Japan for another year. I wouldn't bet on the latter. He's going to take many millions from some MLB team soon.
Despite the upcoming deadline, we're still waiting for Tanaka's decision. Depending on who you ask and the day of the week, the Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, Mariners, White Sox or Diamondbacks are the front-runner. The whole process has been pretty tight-lipped -- by agent Casey Close's design -- so everyone is speculating.
On Tuesday morning, Tanaka threw some gas on the fire with this tweet:
Run that sucker through Google Translate and you get "do is decide." That means he finally picked a team, right? That's what everyone in the baseball corner of the internet thought. Twitter and various other social media outlets were abuzz with "Tanaka picked a new team" talk, but alas, it was not meant to be:
Leave it to someone who actually speaks Japanese to ruin all the fun. Tanaka still can't decide on a new team, which stinks. He's really cutting it close with the deadline.
Oh, wait. Scroll back through Tanaka's Twitter timeline and you'll see the "I can't decide" had nothing to do with him picking a MLB club. Turns out...
Talk about a buzzkill. Tanaka was saying he can't decide between all the fan-submitted photos he's received for his Twitter avatar the whole time. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome he's connecting with fans like that, but it was also a total letdown for those of us waiting to see where he'll sign.
Nice unintentional troll job by Tanaka. Only three days and a few hours to go in this saga.
(Aside: Make sure you check out the indispensable NPB Tracker.)