Hot Stove roundup: Nearing decision on Tanaka
Rakuten could make call on whether to post Japanese ace by Wednesday
The free-agent market lost one of its biggest names on Saturday, when outfielder Shin-Soo Choo reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $130 million contract with the Rangers.
As the list of unsigned impact players continues to shrink, the big question hanging over the Hot Stove is whether Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will join the fray. The highly touted right-hander's Nippon Professional Baseball club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, has yet to decide whether to make him available via NPB's recently revised posting system with Major League Baseball.
But the situation appears to nearing a resolution, with Baseball America's Ben Badler reporting that the Eagles are expected to inform Tanaka of their decision by Wednesday.
In other news from around the league on Sunday:
• The Los Angeles Times reported that the Dodgers are nearing a one-year deal for former Indians closer Chris Perez. The right-hander, an All-Star in 2011 and '12, saved 123 games over the past four seasons. He was released by Cleveland on Oct. 31.
• Former A's closer Grant Balfour saw his two-year, $15 million deal with the Orioles fall through after issues arose with his physical, but as many as four teams -- including the Rays -- appear to have interest in the veteran righty.
• Former All-Star left-hander Mark Mulder, who is making a comeback attempt, has worked out for the Giants, Padres, D-backs, Angels and Phillies, according to The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo. Mulder last pitched in the Majors in 2008 but is working with a new delivery after injuries derailed his career.
• Cafardo also writes that free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew seems likely to return to the Red Sox, due in large part to a lack of other strong fits.
• Agent Scott Boras is trying to get the Mets interested in two of his remaining free agents, Drew and slugger Kendrys Morales, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. However, Crasnick says Drew's price could be too high for New York, which doesn't appear to have much interest in Morales.