Reports: Tanaka posted, has agent

Masahiro Tanaka is one step closer to joining the Major Leagues, according to a series of Christmas Day reports.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, citing a source, said that the posting period for the Japanese right-hander started Thursday morning and will conclude by Jan. 24 at 5 p.m.

Meanwhile, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, citing the Sponichi website in Japan, reported that Casey Close will serve as Tanaka’s agent. Close also represents big league All-Stars Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Derek Jeter.

Tanaka’s Nippon Professional Baseball club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, reportedly revealed the decision to post him on Tuesday evening. The posting figures to trigger a Major League frenzy, not just because of Tanaka’s talents, but also because of the new posting system regulations.

Under the new posting system, bids cannot exceed $20 million. Also, any Major League team can negotiate freely with Tanaka, with only the signing team ultimately paying the $20 million fee.

It presents a much different situation than two years ago when the Rangers won exclusive rights to negotiate with Yu Darvish after posting a winning bid worth $51.7 million.

The new posting rules figure to allow more teams the chance to pursue Tanaka, who this past season went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in leading the Golden Eagles to the Japan Series title. Overall, despite being just 25 years old, Tanaka has gone 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA over seven seasons in Japan.

Various reports have already mentioned the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Braves, Rangers and Diamondbacks as potential frontrunners to land Tanaka’s servies.

- Paul Casella

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