Just a few links and notes as the free agent landscape begins to take shape heading into the weekend.
• Over at Yahoo! Sports, Jeff Passan does a nice job explaining the current situation of Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka, widely believed to be the best starting pitcher available this winter. Tanaka is expected to posted at some point, but the posting system is undergoing significant changes, and that could delay things. When he does hit the market, Passan writes, “All parties agree on only one thing: Tanaka is going to be the most expensive import in baseball history.”
• Speaking of Japanese starting pitchers, our good friend Andy McCullough is reporting that Brian Cashman is worried that Hiroki Kuroda will end up going back to Japan this offseason. When the regular season ended, Kuroda downplayed the idea of going back to Japan, but he’s been pretty difficult to read entering this offseason. It’s still expected that the Yankees will give him a qualifying offer.
• Another rotation option with upside is Ubaldo Jimenez, who has declined his option for next season. Jimenez was expected to decline in favor of free agency following his massive bounce-back season. He had a 3.30 ERA in 32 starts, and he was even better in the second half, with a 1.82 ERA after the All-Star break. He wasn’t nearly that good the previous two years, but this season may be enough for Jimenez to get a big contract somewhere.
• The Yankees seem to be in the market for a late-inning reliever, and a familiar face could be an option. Today the Tigers surprisingly turned down a team option on Jose Veras, the former Yankees right-hander who’s emerged as a pretty good late-inning reliever.
• How much risk are you looking to take on this offseason? The Mets officially declined their option on Johan Santana.
Associated Press photo