The will-he-or-won't-he winter saga that is the Masahiro Tanaka story has reached a critical step, as reports out of Japan are indicating that the 25-year-old pitcher will be made available by the Rakuten Golden Eagles of NPB. Tanaka immediately becomes the best free agent starting pitcher available and at his age he offers a good deal of upside that other free agent pitchers can't offer.
What does this have to do with the Mets? Not much, at least directly. Tanaka's posting fee could be worth as much as $20 million according to the new rules in place between MLB and NPB. In addition to that, the right-hander could make more than $100 million in his actual contract negotiations.
With New York seemingly out of spendable money and having already filled a hole in the starting rotation, the club doesn't seem to be a player for Tanaka. However, if he's as good as he's hyped up to be, Tanaka could have an impact on the National League playoff race for years to come. Mets fans might want to root for the import to sign a deal with the Yankees or Angels instead of the Diamondbacks or Cubs.