Yankees make Masahiro Tanaka a top priority, plan big bid

Koji Watanabe

New York plans to bid big on the Japanese phenom.

The New York Yankees are making Japanese pitching phenom Masahiro Tanaka a top priority and are the team to beat in the bidding, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. Passan reports that the Yankees are "going to be bold" in their bid and could shell out a record posting fee for the 25-year-old right-hander.

There are two obvious reasons for New York's strong interest. The first is the undeniable talent of Japan's top hurler. Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last season for the Rakuten Eagles of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league. The second is that posting fees for Japanese players do not count against the MLB luxury tax, meaning the Yankees could acquire a top-line pitcher while having only a fraction of the money spent count toward their 2014 payroll. They are aiming to keep player salaries below $189 million next season.

The Yankees' rotation currently boasts CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova, with youngsters Michael Pineda and Manny Banuelos also serving as possibilities. The team is expected to be active in the free-agent pitching market.

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