Masahiro Tanaka Chooses Casey Close as His Agent. Are Dodgers and Yankees Now the Front-Runners?


tanakaMasahiro Tanaka is wasting no time lining things up for his move to America. On the same day the Rakuten Eagles announced they would post the pitcher, Tanaka reportedly chose an agent to represent him in his sure-to-be-lucrative negotiations with MLB teams.

And Tanaka’s choice of agent could be really good news for two teams in particular.

Per the Japanese website Sponichi (via Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times), Tanaka has hired Casey Close to represent him. Arn Tellem and Mark Pieper were also reportedly on the Tanaka agent short list but ultimately he went with Close.

The choice of Close could potentially be really good news for the Los Angeles Dodgers and/or New York Yankees. Close already represents several players on both teams, including the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and the Yankees’ Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira.

Both the Dodgers and Yankees are believed to be on the list of teams ready to go all-out after Tanaka. The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are also on that list. The Texas Rangers likely are not after their move to wildly overpay Shin-Soo Choo.

Of course the choice of Close as agent guarantees nothing. It could be a total coincidence that Tanaka picked an agent who already has strong relationships with the Dodgers and Yankees. It’s way too early to assume this whole thing is going to boil down to an L.A. vs. New York bidding war.

It’s way too early for Red Sox and Cubs fans who covet Tanaka to begin cursing the dang Yankees and darn Dodgers.

But yeah, Tanaka is probably going to the Yankees or Dodgers. Should be fun watching the numbers go up. Like one of those electronic billboards that keeps a running tally of the national debt.

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Chicago Cubs Los Angeles Dodgers Masahiro Tanaka New York Yankees

  • Jose Pena

    Will David Price and Tanaka be teammates on a loaded Dodgers pitching staff?

    • http://blogredmachine.com/ Steve O.

      At this point, I can’t see it happening.

      From what I understand and all I have read in regards to what the Rays are asking for Price, the Dodgers may not have the pieces in order to acquire him through a trade. I also think it’s highly unlikely another team would get involved to make it a three team deal in order to make it easier for LA to get Price. Why would any team get involved in that if it meant the Dodgers would acquire Price and only get better pitching?

  • Jill Taylor

    What does the name of his agent have to do with the posting process? If the Red Sox win the sealed posting fee sweepstakes, then they earn the right to negotiate with Tanaka. How do the Yankees or Dodgers have an advantage in the bidding process?

    • http://blogredmachine.com/ Steve O.

      With the change in the posting system, a team or teams can post the max $20 million (which will more than likely be the required fee for Tanaka), it’s practically a lock that both the Dodgers and Yankees will post that fee. I imagine the Red Sox may get in on this as well. If more than one team agrees to post that required fee, all teams that have done so can pursue Tanaka as if he were a free agent. For the most part, the days of posting sweepstakes are gone and it could easily end up that Tanaka does go to the highest bidder as far as a contract in concerned.

      With Close representing multiple players currently on both the Dodgers and Yankees rosters, and they are considered big names, some may view this as an advantage for those clubs since the GMs of those franchises already have an established working relationship. That can go a long way in terms of negotiations especially if the GM and agent (in this case, Close) have a respectful and positive relationship.