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Let The Masahiro Tanaka Sweepstakes Begin

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Japanese righthander Masahiro Tanaka is now up for signing for any MLB team willing to pay the $20 million posting fee.

Koji Watanabe

If you were wondering about exactly how the new posting process for Masahiro Tanaka is going to work, here's a clue:

This, of course, assumes that the maximum bid will be paid for Tanaka, which I think we all believe is a valid assumption. (It wouldn't necessarily take the max bid to get a lesser Japanese player who's posted, for example.)

This essentially makes Tanaka a free agent. If "any team willing" to pay the $20 million can sign him, we'd have to assume that any team can negotiate with him. That's how I'd read it, anyway.

Since Theo Epstein has said the Cubs are "all in" on Tanaka, I'd guess we'll be hearing about some contact the Cubs will make with his newly-signed agent, Casey Close.

The posting period lasts 30 days, so Tanaka will either be signed by a MLB team by January 24, or he'll go back to the Rakuten Golden Eagles. I seriously doubt he'll be playing for the Golden Eagles in 2014 -- some MLB team will sign him, since he's made it clear he wants to play in the major leagues in 2014 and beyond.

Let the bidding begin.