Tanaka, who has never thrown a single pitch in the majors, will receive the fifth-highest contract ever for a pitcher.
What this signing means for Mariners fans is two-fold.
1. He didn’t sign with an AL West rival which is important.
2. Now the Mariners can focus on the remaining available starting pitchers, if they intend to bring someone in.
We have talked ad nauseum for months about the free agents Matt Garza, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez. It appears that Jimenez may be off the board, with some speculation he will be returning to Cleveland.
A name we haven’t talked about much is Bronson Arroyo. Several teams have shown interest in Arroyo but there has been little movement – much like with Garza and the rest – due to the wait-and-see fiasco that was Tanaka.
Arroyo will come with a lower price tag than Garza and/or Santana and would be a nice fit in the rotation. He may prefer to stay in the National League though.
There is of course the whole “we are done spending, we have no more money” thing to consider. It may very well be that the rotation is all but set going into Spring Training.
Buckle up Mariners fans, it could be a very interesting few weeks.