(1090 The Fan) — Plain and simple: If Seattle wants Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, management needs to prepare for the most expensive team in franchise history.
The 25-year-old had this to show for his 2013 campaign with the Rakuten Golden Eagles: 1.27 ERA and 5.72 K/BB ratio in 212 innings. His career ERA is 2.30 and he strikes out 4.5 batters for every walk he surrenders. NOMProjections.com predicts Tanaka will yield a 2014 WAR of between 4.0 and 5.0.
So, how would the Mariners rationalize going after the guy who also carries a posting fee of $20 million? Here is what CBS Eye On Baseball writer Dayn Perry thinks:
“The M’s have of course made the priciest and most conspicuous addition of the offseason in Cano. Doubtless, Cano will vastly improve the Mariners in 2014, but an alchemist he is not. That is, it takes more than one player to turn a team that was out-scored by 130 runs into a contender. The front of the rotation is strong with Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, and Taijuan Walker and James Paxton have plenty of ceiling. However, Tanaka would give Seattle a third frontline starter and permit the team some patience when it comes to Walker and Paxton. Considering how much they’ve already invested, the Mariners need to see this through, lest they wind up a more expensive fourth-place team next season.”
And it’s not just the usual suspects the Mariners would have to outbid (Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Dodgers, Angels); non-contenders like the Cubs, Phillies, Mets and Astros see Tanaka as a long-term investment to help rebuild their franchises.
So, is he worth the cash for the Mariners?