The anecdotal evidence has been adding up to the Yankees getting back into the international free agent market this offseason, and the latest report on their connections to Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka makes it sound like it won't just be a token effort.
In The Post yesterday, George King reported that multiple sources anticipate the Yankees being "serious players" in the bidding for Tanaka once the process starts. He won't be eligible to be posted by his NPB team until November 1st at the earliest, but based on the amount of time they spent scouting him this season and the obvious need they have for rotation help, Tanaka would be a great fit. King's report called the Yankees' interest in Tanaka a "priority" this offseason, something that hasn't been said about the last few big name international FAs.
Also of interest in the story was the high level of praise that Tanaka received from scouts. Some called him a better prospect than Yu Darvish, something I hadn't read up until today, and said he could be the best pitcher to ever come out of Japan. That kind of ceiling could drive his price up, and right now the early expectation is that his posting fee could match the $60 million Texas paid for Darvish while his contract could exceed Darvish's 6 years/$51.7 million. Considering they paid Hiroki Kuroda $15 mil and Andy Pettitte 12 last season, the AAV of the contract shouldn't be a concern for the Yankees.
Yankees 2021 Season Preview: Kyle Higashioka
1 hour ago