Something about Nippon Professional Baseball pitcher Masahiro Tanaka's 1.27 ERA and 24-0 record has made him appealing to Major League Baseball teams, and the good news is, Tanaka seems to like them back.
With an international posting system finalized, and interest from Tanaka's camp in exploring his options stateside, it seems more likely than ever that the Japanese phenom will sign with a team in the U.S.
However, his current Japanese team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, have been fighting tooth and nail to keep their star pitcher for as long as they can.
That hasn't stopped MLB teams from salivating over the image of Tanaka in their rotations on opening day.
The Cubs, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Rangers and Angels are all listed as curious, and given that the new posting system puts a $20 million cap on the rights to negotiate with NPB players, any team from the low to the high market can jump in.
It's been predicted that most MLB teams will give negotiating with Tanaka a shot, with even the Phillies being named, and any interested parties will have 30 days after Tanaka is initially posted between now and February 1 to enter talks with him.
The $20 million is paid only if Tanaka signs with the team in question, which he will only be able to do if Rakuten allows him to do so.
Tanaka has informed Rakuten of his desire to depart, and they have in turn told him how badly they want him to stay. All that remains are the 46 days between now and February 1.