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When the word finally came out that Japanese star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was being
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When the word finally came out that Japanese star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was being posted, I was convinced he would sign with the Texas Rangers or New York Yankees, with the LA Dodgers and Boston Red Sox being outside possibilities. Ken Singleton Jersey . Now if I had to make a wager, Id say the Seattle Mariners or Arizona Diamondbacks. Over the weekend, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports suggested the Diamondbacks might be willing to trade their former closer J.J. Putz to the Yankees for Ichiro Suzuki. Why, I wondered, would the Dbacks want a 40-year-old future Hall of Famer in the twilight of a great career?  Then it hit me! What better way to convince Tanaka to sign with them than to offer him the chance to play with the greatest Japanese player of all time. But if its not just the money, Seattle is probably an even better choice for Tanaka. The Mariners have already shown a willingness to spend by luring free agent Robinson Cano away from the bright lights of New York and they already employ one of Tanakas best friends in baseball. Hisashi Iwakuma has quietly emerged as a star in Seattle the last two seasons. I say quietly because hell always be pitching in the shadow of "King Felix" Hernandez. In two years, though, hes put together a 23-11 record with a 2.84 ERA and 286 strikeouts.  He made the American League all-star team last season but couldnt pitch in the mid-summer classic since he had made a start for Seattle on the Sunday, just before the Tuesday night game. He also finished third in Cy Young voting in the American League behind the Tigers Max Scherzer and the Rangers Yu Darvish. Tanaka and Iwakuma were teammates with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan from 2007 through 2011 and are reportedly good friends. Though Iwakuma put together a 107-69 record with a 2.75 ERA in Japan, he went through his share of adversities. In 2006, pitching motion rules were put into effect that forced Iwakuma to alter his delivery. In past, Japanese hurlers had been allowed to momentarily stop in mid-delivery before throwing to the plate. This was designed to throw off a hitters timing but now would simply be ruled a balk. Iwakuma changed, but altering his delivery led to shoulder problems and then elbow surgery that would cost him the bulk of two seasons. Iwakuma bounced back, though, and won the ERA title in 2008 as well as the Eiji Sawamura Award; the Major League equivalent of the Cy Young. Even Iwakumas move to the Majors didnt go smoothly. Oakland won the bidding rights for him prior to the 2011 season. The sides couldnt come to terms on a contract, though, and Iwakuma wound up spending one more year in Japan before finally earning free agency at age 30 and signing with Seattle. Iwakuma will be 33 years old in April and would seem to be the perfect one to show Tanaka the ropes in the Majors. The only complication might be Iwakumas contract. He will be make $6.5 million with the Ms in 2014 and has a club option for $7 million in 2015.  Tanaka could get close to twice that amount per season.  That could be difficult for the Mariners to rationalize and explain to Iwakuma, whos already given them two very good seasons. Still, Ive got a feeling Seattle will find a way to get this done. The Tanaka negotiations must be completed by January 24 at 5:00 PM. Darvish took until the day before this deadline to sign with Texas. With spring training rapidly approaching, I can see this one getting done in the next week to ten days. Once Tanaka has a new home, it will only serve to intensify the bidding for free agents Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and maybe even Bronson Arroyo. The Class of 2014 inductees for the Baseball Hall of Fame will be announced on Wednesday at 2:00 PM. Im sticking with the same three selections I talked about months ago; Braves pitching legends Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and White Sox two-time MVP, Frank Thomas. I counted at least 10 other worthy Hall of Famers on this ballot, but thanks to PEDs and the sheer back-log of quality candidates, Im convinced only the aforementioned three will get in. As for Jack Morris, whos on the ballot for the 15th and final time, I dont care what his career ERA was; any man who was the staff ace on three World Series winners (84 Tigers, 91 Twins, 92 Blue Jays) belongs in the Hall of Fame - end of story. Check out Morriss numbers in 1992 with the Blue Jays at age 37. 240.2 innings pitched, 21-6 record, 4.04 ERA, six complete games and one shutout. Remember, the Blue Jays had Tom Henke and Duane Ward as the 1-2 punch in the pen. The onus wasnt on Morris to pitch that many innings or that many complete games. He just did, he was that good. Paul Fry Jersey .com) - The Ottawa Senators will try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive when they face the Chicago Blackhawks who are trying to secure their place in the post-season. Rio Ruiz Jersey . On Tuesday, the star questioned whether that was still the case. Speaking to reporters at a charity event, Johnson said: "I just kind of wonder sometimes: Is this still the place for me?" Johnsons comments came after he was asked why he recently skipped a voluntary minicamp. https://www.cheaporioles.com/158i-alex-c...ioles.html . If there is one club built to handle an off-field controversy, its the Bill Belichick era Patriots. Even if New Englands offence stumbles a bit out of the gate, their defence can help them stay in games, especially in the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets in the first two weeks.NEW YORK -- Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome has galloped his usual 2 miles at Belmont Park, and new horses are lining up to challenge his Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes. Assistant trainer Alan Sherman says the chestnut colt looked strong on Wednesday. California Chrome will try to become racings first Triple Crown winner in 36 years when he runs in the Belmont on June 7. The field for the 1 1/2-mile race has added three horses: Matterhorn, Matuszak and Medal Count, who was eighth in the Derby. Matterhorn and Matuszak are newcomers to the Triple Crown trail. Other probablees are Derby runner-up Commanding Curve, Commissioner, Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin, Samraat, Tonalist, and Wicked Strong, who was fourth in the Derby. Chris Davis Jersey. Kid Cruz, eighth in the Preakness, is a possibility. Samraat was fifth in the Derby, while Commissioner and Tonalist are newcomers to the Triple Crown races. Sherman says it will be a tough race, but thinks if California Chrome runs his usual race the colt will win. California Chrome is scheduled for his only official workout before the Belmont on Saturday, with jockey Victor Espinoza coming in from Southern California. ' ' '
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