Is Tanaka holding up Orioles' starter pursuit?

Is Tanaka holding up Orioles' starter pursuit?
January 20, 2014, 7:45 am

The Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes come to a head this week. Since the Orioles aren’t involved in the bidding, that shouldn’t be a big deal.

However, a lot of observers think Tanaka is the reason for a lot of the inaction on the still relatively rich starting pitching market.

The Japanese star is said to command a six-year, $120 million contract. The most serious bidders for him are supposedly the Cubs, White Sox, Diamondbacks, Yankees and Dodgers.

Once Tanaka signs, or in the unlikely event he doesn’t and returns to Japan, this week, the market for starters, which still includes Bronson Arroyo, A.J. Burnett, Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and a number of others, will probably heat up.

Perhaps then Burnett will decide if he’s going to pitch in 2014. Both the Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates are eager to know. Arroyo can make a decision on this year’s club, too.

Spring training is now just a little more than three weeks away.

The most intriguing rumor of a football-filled Sunday, was the report that Grant Balfour and the Nationals may play ball. Balfour’s name had not come up often in the past month, and the Nationals, whose payroll may be north of $130 million, are said to have interest.

The Nationals might have to trade Drew Storen to fit Balfour in.