As you might have long suspected, I don’t speak Japanese. Can’t read it either. I’m not qualified to tell you about Japanese law or culture, and I don’t have the Nippon Baseball background to give any sort of meaningful analysis of what the Rakuten Golden Eagles will do or should do with Masahiro Tanaka. All I know is what I’ve read — or tried to read — and what I’ve heard, often from people who themselves don’t know what exactly Rakuten will do or should do.
It’s quickly becoming a real educational shortcoming, because it turns out the rest of the Yankees offseason seems to hinge on various reports that I can neither read nor understand.
Here’s what I vaguely know: This morning, the New York Times cited various Japanese reports saying Tanaka is unlikely to be posted. This afternoon, another report emerged apparently saying the Rakuten team president has denied those reports and no decision has been made. Problem is, when I try to use an online translator to read the story myself, the first paragraph comes out like this:
The 19th, in response to coverage of the press in Sendai city, it’s that tough for the “system but certain as to whether to accept a U.S. Major League Baseball moved in the new posting system Tanaka Masahiro pitcher Tachibana Yozo team president of comfort. , I have comments policy and “will continue to. discussion are not out yet. Teams are undecided talks time with the Tanaka future.
Lost in translation, indeed.
So what am I taking from all of this? Mostly that my lack of Japanese knowledge isn’t the only thing keeping me from a straight answer. I’ve seen first-hand the daily coverage that Ichiro Suzuki and Hiroki Kuroda have received here in the United States, and it’s pretty overwhelming. I can hardly imagine what it’s like trying to cover this Tanaka situation in Japan. Reporters must be working in every way to break the smallest nugget of news, which might lead to bold reports about relatively minor developments. Also, it seems that almost anything is on the table, including the possibility of Rakuten “exploring ways” to get more than the $20 million maximum posting fee. What ways exactly? All I know is what I’ve read, and I honestly have no idea which of those are realistic and which are not.
Until there’s something definitive — a legitimate decision announced by the team and Major League Baseball — I’m not sure we’ll any rock solid answers. Tanaka is still out there. He might be posted. He might not. And baseball’s pitching market seems to be at a standstill until we have answers that we can all understand.
Associated Press photo