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Red Sox GM Ben Cherington: ‘To be determined’ whether Red Sox meet with Masahiro Tanaka

01.10.14 at 11:30 am ET
By
Masahiro Tanaka (AP)

Masahiro Tanaka (AP)

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, in an interview on WEEI’s Hot Stove Show on Thursday night, said that the Red Sox have been “in contact” with Casey Close, who represents right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, the Japanese pitcher who has been posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles. Tanaka, considered the top pitcher available this offseason, is in the United States meeting with a number of teams in advance of the Jan. 24 date after which he can sign with a team willing to pay a $20 million posting fee to Rakuten for his rights. Cherington declined to say whether the Red Sox were among the teams with whom Tanaka is meetings, instead suggest it was “to be determined” whether the pitcher would meet with the Sox.

“We’ve been in touch with Casey Close, who’s representing Tanaka, and obviously we’ve done a lot of work on Tanaka, as a lot of teams have. So we’re very comfortable with our evaluation. We’ve had a conversation and dialogue with Casey. That’s about all I’d want to say at this point,” Cherington said. “We respect Tanaka as a pitcher. Obviously he’s very accomplished. Not surprisingly,there will be a lot of competition for him. It will be an interesting couple weeks I guess, roughly, that he has to make a decision.

“Meeting with teams is sort of an indication that he wants to get more information from those teams. We’ll just see how it plays out. We’ll see whether it makes sense to have that meeting with us. I think we have had a good open dialogue with Casey. I think he understands our position and we understand his,” Cherington added. “I don’t think the calendar really allows for him to meet with every team. Nor does the calendar allow for every team to meet with him. So there’s got to be some sense on both sides that it’s time worth spending. That’s to be determined. All I can say at this point is we really respect him as a pitcher, his talent, he’s very accomplished obviously. He certainly looks like a guy who’s going to be a good major league starter right away. When that kind of pitcher or talent is available, it’s our job to do the work we need to do to get to know him and express a level of interest that makes sense for us. We’ve done that. So, we’ll see how that goes.”

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