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Posting begins Thursday for Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka

12.26.13 at 9:03 am ET
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Major league teams interested in Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka can begin the bidding on the posting process Thursday morning, following Wednesday’s announcement that his Japanese team agreed to let him test the MLB market.

Teams can bid up to $20 million in an attempt to obtain negotiating rights with the pitcher, with the process concluding Jan. 24. If Tanaka does not sign with an MLB team by that day, he would return to the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball.

Tanaka, 25, went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 183 strikeouts vs. 32 walks in 212 innings this past season, helping his team win its first league championship. He made $4 million, and Rakuten reportedly was willing to give him a huge raise and make him the highest-paid pitcher in league history to keep him. The team was said to be upset about the change in the posting process that caps the fee at $20 million. However, the Golden Eagles apparently had a change of heart, and held a press conference Wednesday to announce the decision.

“I’m grateful to the team for allowing me to try. Now I’ve made a first step,” Tanaka said. “I hope I would receive offers from as many teams as possible so I have a wider option.”

The Yankees, in clear need of starting pitching, have been speculated to be the favorites to land Tanaka. The Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers also reportedly have an interest in making a run at him.

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