MLB Roundup: Tanaka up for grabs
TOKYO (AP) — Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is set to move to the majors next season after his Japanese team Rakuten Eagles announced Wednesday it was prepared to let him leave, reversing its earlier rejection.
Rakuten Eagles president Yozo Tachibana told a news conference that the team has decided to release him through the posting system, paving the way for his departure. Tachibana said Tanaka’s outstanding performance over the past seven years, including this season, meant he deserved to be allowed to move to the U.S.
Tanaka, a 25-year-old right-hander, went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA with the Eagles during the regular season and sought a move to the majors. But he has two years remaining on his contract and Rakuten was under no obligation to release him.
“I’m grateful to the team for allowing me to try. Now I’ve made a first step,” he said. “I hope I would receive offers from as many teams as possible so I have a wider option.”
The New York Yankees are considered the leading candidates to sign Tanaka, though the capping of the posting fee at $20 million meant many other teams could also afford to make offers expected to be in the $100 million range.
Dodgers ink reliever Perez
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers bolstered their bullpen on Tuesday, announcing deals with J.P. Howell, Chris Perez and Jamey Wright. They also brought back third baseman Juan Uribe.
Howell returns to Los Angeles for a two-year contract that includes a third-year vesting option. He held opponents to a .193 batting average last season and had a 2.03 ERA, both career bests.
Howell, who went 4-1 in 67 appearances in his first year with the team, was especially tough on left-handed hitters, holding them to a .164 batting average.
General manager Ned Colletti said Howell’s demeanor and competitiveness were “real positives” in the clubhouse.
Coming off his best season with Los Angeles, Uribe received a two-year deal. He batted .278 with 12 homers and 50 RBIs in 132 games. He also had a big postseason homer that helped the Dodgers clinch their NL division series against Atlanta.
Perez signed a one-year deal two months after the five-time All-Star was released by Cleveland. Colletti said Perez expressed interest in joining the Dodgers and pitching in any role that is asked of him.