Hot Stove roundup: Tanaka chooses pinstripes

Hot Stove roundup: Tanaka chooses pinstripes

The baseball world has its answer to the question that has kept the Hot Stove burning for the last month.

On Wednesday morning, Masahiro Tanaka signed a seven-year contract worth $155 million with the Yankees. Once the posting fee of $20 million is factored in, New York committed $175 million to the Japanese right-hander.

Nearly a month after being posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles, Tanaka joins the Yankees, capping what MLB.com's Richard Justice calls a "spectacularly successful" offseason in the Bronx.

There is no questioning Tanaka's accomplishments in Japan, where he won the equivalent of the Cy Young Award twice in the past three seasons. He went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 2013, while leading his club to a Japan Series title in its first-ever appearance.

But MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince says Tanaka owes Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish a heart-felt thank you -- or "arigatou." Without Darvish's success in the big leagues after signing a similarly hefty contract, Tanaka likely wouldn't have received such an immense financial commitment from the Yankees.

Also in on the bidding war for Tanaka were the White Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, D-backs and Astros. In fact, Houston offered the Japanese ace more than $100 million, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. The Astros' pitch included a visit from seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens.

But ultimately it was the Yankees who earned Tanaka's talents for the foreseeable future. The contract includes an opt-out clause that can be exercised after the 2017 season. Tanaka also was given a full no-trade clause.

The total value of Tanaka's contract ranks as fifth highest for a pitcher in Major League history -- behind Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia.

With the crown jewel of this offseason's class of free-agent pitchers now off the market, the Hot Stove likely will see the rest of its major dominoes fall into place soon. Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, Bronson Arroyo and Matt Garza are among the arms still available -- and now out of limbo, writes MLB.com's Tracy Ringolsby. As for the non-Tanaka Hot Stove news, there was quite a bit of that, too, on Wednesday:

• Former Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox worth $750,000. The contract has the potential to increase to $6 million after incentives.

Sizemore, 31, hasn't played in a big league game since 2011 and averaged just 70 games per season from 2009-11. But in his four injury-free big league seasons, Sizemore averaged 27 homers and was a three-time All-Star and a two-time Gold Glove Award winner.

• The Rays acquired Logan Forsythe in a seven-player deal that sent Alex Torres and Jesse Hahn to San Diego. Tampa Bay also got Brad Boxberger, Matt Lollis, Matt Andriese and Maxx Tissenbaum in the trade.

• The A's agreed to a two-year deal with left-hander Eric O'Flaherty. In five seasons with Atlanta, O'Flaherty posted a 1.99 ERA over 295 appearances. He is expected to return from Tommy John surgery by midseason.

• The Mets cleared their arbitration slate by agreeing to a contract with Lucas Duda worth $1,637,500. Duda was the club's lone remaining arbitration-eligible player.

• Suitors may arise for Rays left-hander David Price now that Tanaka is off the market.

• The Dodgers and veteran utility man Chone Figgins have reportedly agreed to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.