Part IV of the "You're reading this because of one man's obsession with Masahiro Tanaka" series. Don't worry. It'll be over in the next couple months.
But there's another group obsessed with Tanaka, and that would be the Yankees. Because the posting fee doesn't count against the luxury tax, Tanaka is a way to get a $100 million pitcher who counts roughly half that for the purposes of the tax. So Joel Sherman is going to be on the case for most of your Tanaka news, and he's reporting there's going to be a change to the system:
There had been speculation the system would undergo radical changes, with perhaps even the teams with the three highest posting bids all gaining the rights to negotiate with the players. I have been told there will be alterations in the process, but still only one team will win the post and have exclusive negotiating rights.
It is possible, as a way to give the player more power to choose his destination, he might get to pick a singular team from, say, the top two or three bidders.
It's that last part that intrigues me. For as giddy as I am about Tanakamania 2.0, I have no illusions about the Giants making a needle-off-the-record bid for him that would blow away the Yankees, Dodgers, and Mariners. But I can concoct a fanboy scenario in which the Giants make a strong bid, good enough for second or third.
And from there, I have no idea what Tanaka is looking for, but I don't think it's insane to suggest that a good fit might be a pitcher's park in a cosmopolitan city close to Japan with a team that draws exceptionally well. If there are three teams from which to choose, the Giants would probably stack up pretty well. If those sorts of things are what he's into. Maybe he really likes ribs and Steve Balboni, so he's more of a Royals guy.
The Giants still aren't going to get Tanaka. Even without Lincecum's silly salary. Once zitoed, twice shy. But a change to the posting system helps the Giants incrementally. I'll take it. And one of these years, I want one of the fancy international players. They've never not failed in Major League Baseball, so for the entire offseason, they're as good as your imagination allows.
And I can imagine a heckuva lot. He would be the best pitcher the Giants have had in 30 years until the games actually started. I could totally get into that.