By Shannon Drayer
Baseball all but shuts down for the week of Christmas and New Years. Deals can and do get done occasionally in the final week of December but for the most part, with the MLB and team offices closed it is a relatively quiet week. That could change this year however.
As of December 23 we still do not know if the Rakuten Golden Eagles will post Masahiro Tanaka. The decision is expected to come any day now and my gut feeling on this is he will be posted. I find it curious that it has taken this long to come to a decision after the two sides met and Tanaka expressed his desire to depart Japan for MLB. Rakuten is trying to convince him to stay and according to reports has offered to triple his current salary. There is also a report that Tanaka has continued to look for an agent to represent him in the US. The deadline to post a player is February 1 but it will be in Rakuten's best interest to make this decision and move on quickly. We should know soon.
There will be activity, and possibly as soon as this week, regardless of what happens. If Tanaka is posted then the bidding war begins. If he isn't there are other significant dominoes to fall with a number of free agent pitchers still available. The Mariners could use one of those pitchers. A left-handed reliever wouldn't be a bad idea at this point either. Plenty still left to be done.
-Reliever Chance Ruffin who was dropped from the 40-man roster to make room for Franklin Gutierrez has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma.
-The Hot Stove League Show will be on Tuesday evenings this year starting Feb. 7.