Monday, November 4, 2013

Yankees Make Qualifying Offers To Cano, Kuroda, Granderson

There you have it.  The Yankees didn't wait until the deadline to announce their QO decisions, confirming earlier this afternoon that they have extended qualifying offers to Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda, and Curtis Granderson.  The value of the 1-year QO is $14.1 million this year, and although there is still uncertainty surrounding C-Grand's plans, the expectation is that all 3 will reject the offer and line the Yankees up to recoup 3 1st-round sandwich picks in next year's draft if they sign with another team.

Not a lot of drama attached to these qualifiers, unless both Kuroda and Granderson surprise us and accept them.  That would put a strain on the club's offseason plans, both from a payroll and roster upgrade standpoint.  It's worth noting that Carlos Beltran, one of the first free agents to be connected to the Yanks this offseason, received a qualifying offer from the St. Louis Cardinals.  If New York ends up signing him, they'll give up their 1st round pick (18th) to the Cards.

Free Agent Target: Masahiro Tanaka

(Courtesy of the AP)

While I did declare earlier that this post was to be the first AB4AR free agent profile piece of the offseason, the truth is I cheated that a bit.  The real first FA post was last week's profile on Korea pitcher Suk-Min Yoon, the premiere free agent pitcher coming out of Korea this offseason.  There's a similar premiere pitcher coming out of the Japanese NPB league this offseason, a pitcher universally regarded as a much better MLB pro prospect than Yoon.  His name is Masahiro Tanaka and if you haven't heard of him you haven't been paying attention to baseball that closely at all this year.

Like Yu Darvish before him, Tanaka is expected to be the most sought after free agent pitcher whenever he is made available through the modified NPB posting system this offseason.  The latest reports on the anticipated posting fee amount make it sound like $75-100 million could be the highest bid, which would smash the previous record of $51.7 million, the amount the Rangers paid to win the bidding for Darvish.  For that kind of money, teams should be expecting to get a pitcher at least as good, if not better, than Darvish.  Based on some scouting reports, Tanaka has the ability to be that kind of pitcher, the type of young, high-ceiling arm the Yankees desperately need in their rotation.

Tanaka Watch 2013 Begins

(Courtesy of the AP)

Today's the final day for teams to make their qualifying offers to their pending free agents.  The Yankees appear pretty set on what they're going to do, and by this time tomorrow all free agents will officially be free to negotiate and sign with any team they want.  All, that is, except for the player who could be the Yankees' and multiple other teams' top target this offseason, Japaense pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.

There's still no timetable for when Tanaka will even posted, as the new posting rules between MLB and NPB have not been finalized and put in place.  The hope was that those changes would be put into effect by last Friday in time for the start of MLB free agency, and because they are not, technically Tanaka is still off-limits to MLB teams.  There is no new target date announced for the implementation of the rule changes, but that didn't stop Tanaka from giving his suitors something to think about over the weekend.