The Masahiro Tanaka free-agency tour has hit the U.S., as the Japanese ace and his agent are scheduled to meet with teams over the next several days, an official with knowledge of the pitcher’s plans told ESPNNewYork.com.
Tanaka and agent Casey Close have until a deadline of 5 p.m. ET Jan. 24 to have a contract and physical completed with a team.
The right-hander went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in the Japanese League last season and is considered by many to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. The major league team that signs Tanaka, 25, will owe a $20 million posting fee to the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
One official estimated that more than one-third of MLB teams are interested in Tanaka, who will likely garner a contract in the six-year, $100 million range. Among the interested teams are the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros.
There have been reports that Tanaka will initially meet with the Cubs and White Sox.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Wednesday that Tanaka is trying to educate himself about what it would be like to play in each of the cities…