Updated 10:20 PM EST, Tue, Dec 01, 2020

MLB Free Agents 2014 News and Rumors: Chicago White Sox Confirm Meeting With Masahiro Tanaka, NY Yankees Expected to Make Strong Push Soon

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The bidding war for Masahiro Tanaka is officially on as the Japanese pitcher and his agent started talking to MLB teams on Thursday, a day after arriving in the United States.

ESPN reported that more than one-third of major league teams are expected to talk to Tanaka and agent Casey Close. Tanaka is expected to announce a decision before the deadline on Jan. 24.

The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, and the Philadelphia Phillies have all reportedly scheduled a meeting with the Japanese pitcher.

ESPN Chicago confirmed that White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams, general manager Rick Hahn, and manager Robin Ventura met with 25-year-old Tanaka on Thursday in Los Angeles, but Hahn pointed out that the meeting was more of an exploratory talk.

"The meeting was exploratory in nature," Hahn said. "It was an opportunity for us to sit down with Masahiro and discuss how he potentially fits our vision for the Chicago White Sox for the next several seasons."

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti also hinted on Wednesday that they will meet with Tanaka and his agent, while also adding that the highly-coveted free agent is still in the stage of a feeling-out process in the U.S.

"I talked to Casey as soon as they announced he was going to be posted and as soon as they announced Casey would represent him," Colletti said. "Obviously, Casey and I go back quite a while. They're in a feeling-out process. They're trying to learn about different cities, different teams, different markets, how teams are constructed going forward."

Meanwhile, the New York Yankees are also expected to make their own move soon. The Yankees are considered as the favorite to land Tanaka, who is expected to boost their starting rotation, which includes CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova.

The Yankees are expected to make a strong push, considering the fact that Tanaka is their lone option for the vacancy on their starting rotation as previous reports suggested that they are not interested in other top free-agent starters Matt Garza, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez.

Tanaka, who went 24-0 with an impressive 1.27 ERA with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japanese League last season, is expected to command a contract in the $100 million range.

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