As the news continues to evolve concerning the posting process for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, I feel as though my face is pressed against a window and I’m watching the story unfold from the outside.
Alanis Morissette says I’m uninvited.
An unfortunate slight.
Other reporters have been hanging on every update, but the Orioles won’t get involved with Tanaka. Executive vice president Dan Duquette made it clear at the Winter Meetings, which reduced me to nothing more than a casual observer.
“The Orioles won’t be participating in that market,” he said.
It comes down to the $20 million posting fee, still viewed as excessive, plus whatever it costs to get Tanaka’s name on a contract.
Tanaka, 25, went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for the Rakuten Eagles, leading them to the Japan Series title. He’s gone 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA in seven seasons in Japan.
It’s going to cost a lot to sign him - one executive told ESPN’s Buster Olney that Tanaka could get a deal in the $150 million range - and the Orioles won’t make the attempt.
Perhaps the team that does sign Tanaka will need to clear room, and payroll, and could become a trade partner. For example, one report out of Texas suggested that the Rangers could make a serious run at Tanaka and consider dealing left-hander Derek Holland.
That’s just one example of how the dominoes could tumble. I’m not looking to start a rumor.
Jeff Samardzija remains a potential trade target, and the Cubs figure to make an aggressive push for Tanaka. Again, the dominoes could tumble.
Unfortunately for the Orioles, they’d have to part with some young pitching. Forget Kevin Gausman. But the Cubs would likely inquire about Double-A Bowie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, whose stock continues to rise after his stint in the Arizona Fall League.
One of Rodriguez’s Bowie teammates, right-hander Mike Wright, also commanded the attention of other teams in trade talks at the non-waiver deadline. A scout from another organization projects Wright as a back-of-the-rotation starter in the majors, at best, but the Orioles have been reluctant to part with him.
They gave up promising left-hander Josh Hader in the trade for Bud Norris. Jake Arrieta was packaged with reliever Pedro Strop in the trade for Scott Feldman, who subsequently left as a free agent.
I understand why the Orioles are leery of dealing more arms, but if they’re not going to pay for an established major league starter or post for Tanaka, it’s got to be considered.