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Updated: December 17th, 2013 11:47am
Report: Prized pitcher Masahiro Tanaka asks Japanese team to post him

Report: Prized pitcher Masahiro Tanaka asks Japanese team to post him

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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Prized potential free agent Masahiro Tanaka said he wants to be posted, according to a report out of Japan.

Tanaka still faces hurdles before he can be posted by his team in Japan, the Rakuten Eagles. But he has reportedly met with Rakuten team President Yozo Tachibana, and has told him that he'd like to be posted.

"I report to you that today, I told the team representative that I wish to have the opportunity to play in MLB next season," Tanaka said, according to a translated Q&A posted here. "I am grateful to President Tachibana for making time for me amid his busy schedule."

If his team decides to post him, he would instantly become the top free agent pitcher on the market, in the eyes of many analysts. MLB teams would need to pay a posting fee to the Eagles, but with the new system that might cap the posting at $20 million, it's likely that many teams will line up for the chance to pay for Tanaka's services.

The Twins have repeatedly said they're very high on Tanaka, but many other clubs also will throw their financial weight around if indeed Tanaka is posted.

In the interview, Tanaka talked about his desire to test his abilities "on a new stage."

The Eagles, however, would apparently like him to stay with the team.

"That's always been the main premise in our discussions, and they have told me: "We want you to stay." But I communicated my feelings after taking that into consideration," Tanaka said, according to the translation. No decision has been made yet.

Here is a link to the original report from Nikkan Sports. And here is a link to the English translation.

Some felt Tanaka might be the biggest domino to fall, and that signing could establish this offseason's market for pitching.  The Twins didn't wait around, and have signed three free agent starters this offseason: Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
In this story: Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey
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