ORLANDO – A few items from the GM Meetings:
The Japanese media is here in full force to garner any information possible on their star righthanded pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who went 24-0 during the regular season, threw a 160-pitch game in the Japan Series, and the very next day saved the championship game for Rakuten Eagles.
The Dodgers, Cubs and Yankees are seen as the front runners right now.
At the moment, Major League Baseball and the Japan League are trying to work out a revised posting system so Tanaka can be posted and teams can bid on his services, much like the Red Sox did with Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006.
Where are the Red sox with Tanaka?
It was described to me as on the fringes. According to one team source “we’ve discussed it internally, but it hasn’t gotten far beyond that.” The Red Sox don’t really need Tanaka, who throws mid-90s with a split-fingered fastball. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Red Sox jump in, either.
The blind posting fee may rise to an estimated $50-$70 million and a contract will likely run about six years at $50-60 million.
Tanaka also does not have an agent at this time, which complicates getting information on him.
Some other notes:
-- Carlos Beltran’s name keeps popping up with the Red Sox, but according to one team source, “there’s been very little discussion about him.” The Red Sox have definitely called, inquired and discussed with Beltran’s agents. But where he fits, for a player who needs some DH time, would be the major issue…
-- As we pointed out in the Sunday Baseball Notes, the name John Lackey will begin to pop up the most in the days leading up to the Winter Meetings in December. Teams are intrigued by Lackey, who is now seen as a low-cost option because of the minimum salary team option for 2015. It’s also appealing to the Red Sox, who may not deal him unless they get a major load back in returns. Teams like the Giants, Braves and Phillies would see him as a great fit. The Red Sox would like to move a veteran starter (Ryan Dempster or Jake Peavy) to make room for one of their young pitchers -- Brandon Workman -- in the rotation.
-- Agent Scott Boras and his staff arrived last night and they seem ready to meet with teams on Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin Soo-Choo, and Stephen Drew. Boras and the Red Sox are expected to get together for meetings here to see if there’s any hope on Ellsbury in particular. Boras believes he has a healthy market for Drew and could land the shortstop a four-year deal, but the Red Sox would likely not go that far…
-- Catcher collisions, and ways to curtail them, will be a topic of conversation here. The discussion should be interesting, but whether anything comes of it remains to be seen.