Right-handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka might have to wait a year or more to achieve his goal of pitching in the big leagues.
Subject of much speculation this winter, Tanaka will likely not be made available to MLB teams by his Nippon Professional Baseball organization, the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
"I informed my team that I would like them to allow me to test my abilities in Major League Baseball next season," Tanaka said Tuesday in Japan. However, the odds of that occurring decreased recently when MLB and NPB reached a new agreement that caps the "posting" fee for players leaving Japan for North America at $20 million.
Under the old system, the Japanese team losing a star player to the United States could receive much higher sums, often $50 million-plus.
The Japanese team only receives the fee if the MLB team receiving the player's rights reaches a contract agreement with the player.
Rakuten appears likely to decide that keeping Tanaka, 25, for the upcoming season is worth more than $20 million.
CHOO DISMISSED YANKS
Free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo turned down a seven-year, $140-million offer from the New York Yankees after the signing of Jacoby Ellsbury, Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday.
When Choo's agent, Scott Boras, asked for a deal in the price range of Ellsbury's contract, the Yankees declined and moved on to get free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran instead, according to Yahoo.
The Yankees' offer to Choo was apparently made between Dec. 3-6 after second baseman Robinson Cano left for the Seattle Mariners.
Boras countered by demanding a contract similar to Ellsbury's seven-year, $153-million deal. The Yankees then signed Beltran, who was with the St. Louis Cardinals, to a three-year, $45 million deal.
M'S RE-SIGN GUTIERREZ
Free agent outfielder Franklin Gutierrez might be staying put.
The often-injured veteran is close to signing a one-year, major league deal with the Seattle Mariners, Fox Sports reported Tuesday night. Gutierrez hit the free agent market when the Mariners declined his $7 million option after last season.
The 30-year-old appeared in 41 games in 2013, batting .248 with a .273 on-base percentage, a .503 slugging percentage, 10 home runs and 24 RBIs. Gutierrez was sidelined for portions of the season due to hamstring issues, part of his on-going difficulty in remaining healthy.
Since playing 153 and 152 games for the Mariners in 2009 and 2010, respectively, he failed to top 92 games in a season the next four years.
ANGELS INK IBANEZ
Veteran Raul Ibanez reached agreement on a one-year, $2.75-million contract with the Los Angeles Angels, according to reports.
The 41-year-old hit 29 home runs and had a .242 batting average with 65 RBIs in 124 games last season for the Seattle Mariners.
Ibanez is expected to fill a left-handed designated hitter role with the Angels, but he also can play first base and the outfield.
The Baltimore Orioles were reported to be interested in Ibanez, who has hit 300 home runs during an 18-year career with the Mariners, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees.
The Cleveland Indians acquired left-handed pitcher Josh Outman Wednesday from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for outfielder Drew Stubbs ... The San Diego Padres are nearing an agreement with right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit on a two-year contract worth approximately $15 million, according to a report ... The Atlanta Braves picked up catcher/outfielder Ryan Doumit in a trade with the Minnesota Twins for left-handed pitching prospect Sean Gilmartin.