Hot Stove roundup: Pitching market focuses on Tanaka
Veteran Mulder also draws interest in comeback bid with revamped mechanics
The starting-pitching market has focused on Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, whose recent posting opened up what is sure to be a hotly contested bidding war. The 25-year-old is expected to command at least $17 million per season, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
But another free agent who didn't throw a single Major League pitch last season also seems to be drawing plenty of interest. Lefty Mark Mulder, a 36-year-old former All-Star who last played in 2008, has been making a comeback attempt with a revamped delivery after injuries derailed his career. The experiment has been promising enough that Mulder is mulling over offers from seven teams, with The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo reporting that the Angels are "emerging as [a] frontrunner."
In other news from around the league on Friday:
• Tanaka could be the latest addition in an aggressive offseason for the Mariners, although GM Jack Zduriencik declined to comment on any interest he might have. Meanwhile, the hype machine is working at full force with Tanaka, writes Terence Moore.
• Shin-Soo Choo, who signed a seven-year, $130 million contract with the Rangers, was introduced at the Ballpark in Arlington, with both sides describing it as a "perfect fit." That financial commitment could make it difficult for Texas to sign Tanaka and almost certainly means that free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz won't be returning.
• The Angels officially added a powerful left-handed bat, finalizing their one-year contract with veteran slugger Raul Ibanez.
• The Cubs announced their one-year contract with free-agent righty Jose Veras, who is set to take over as the club's new closer.
• The Mets continue to shop first baseman Ike Davis, reports the New York Post's Mike Puma, who tweeted that the club is talking to the Brewers, Orioles and Pirates.
• Former Cubs and Rays outfielder Sam Fuld is deciding between Minor League deals from five teams, according to Zach Links of MLBTradeRumors.com. Each offer includes an invitation to big league Spring Training.