We're 10 days away from the absolute last date Tanaka has to sign with a Major League team, and it seems the sweepstakes is down to the Yankees and Dodgers. The Yankees need him infinitely more than the Dodgers do. For the Dodgers, he'd be a luxury -- a fine luxury. But it seems his wife could be a factor in his decision.
Her name is Mai Satoda. I admittedly don't know anything about this woman, but her preference, reportedly, is to be on the West Coast -- more specifically, Los Angeles (sorry, Seattle). She's a pop star in Japan and presumably wants to be close to Hollywood so she can further her career.
It doesn't really matter where Tanaka goes. He's going to get paid either way. The Dodgers can probably offer him the most money, while the Yankees are desperate for quality starting pitchers. Money isn't the issue here.
No amount of money can account for a happy wife. If Tanaka is smart and wants to keep his wife happy, he'll choose Los Angeles.
When Hiroki Kuroda came over from Japan, one request he had was he wanted to wear No. 18. While Tim Federowicz wears the number in LA, I'm sure he'd have no problem giving it up (right, Tim?). In New York, Kuroda -- Tanaka's best comp -- wears No. 18. As silly as it sounds, that could make some kind of difference.
As a soon-to-be-married man who isn't about to make more money than I'll ever spend, the decision is easy for me, and I'm sure my Dodger fandom has nothing to do with this.
Then again, New York is New York. We'll see what happens. But if Tanaka's wife's preference has any bearing on his choice, I like the Dodgers' chances.
Photo credit: Tom Grieve, Wikimedia Commons