Updated 01:04 AM EDT, Fri, Oct 31, 2014
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MLB Free Agent 2014 Updates: Boston Red Sox Could Challenge New York Yankees in Masahiro Tanaka Bidding War

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Masahiro Tanaka
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

The New York Yankees are still considered the favorite to land Masahiro Tanaka, but the Boston Red Sox could join the bidding war for the highly-coveted pitcher.

Citing an unnamed source, the Boston Globe reported that despite having a good starting rotation, the Red Sox could quietly slip into the bidding for the Japanese pitcher.

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According to the report, the Red Sox are expected to address their pitching needs soon, knowing that their veteran pitchers are already in the final years of their contracts.

"They have veteran pitchers in the final year or two years remaining on their deals," said the unidentified Boston Globe source. "They'll be clearing out a lot of payroll soon. I know they feel they have good young pitching on the horizon, but Tanaka should be a very good No. 2 or No. 3 starter on any staff. I would think with their emphasis on pitching, they would get into it."

The bidding war for the 25-year-old pitcher started on Thursday. MLB teams have until 5:00 p.m. EST of Jan. 24 to present their bids.

Deep-pocketed and big-market teams were previously considered as overwhelming favorites to sign the right-hander, but the new posting system gave small-market teams a shot at Tanaka.

The new posting agreement between the Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball limited the maximum bid to $20 million unlike before in which there was no limit and the team with the highest bid got exclusive negotiation rights to the posted player.

But despite the crucial change in the posting system, the Yankees are still currently tagged as the most likely destination of Tanaka because they are expected to make a strong bid in order to shore up their rotation that includes CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda.

The Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Texas Rangers are the biggest threat to the Yankees considering the fact that these teams could also offer a big money contract to Tanaka.

Tanaka, who went 24-0 for the Rakuten Golden Eagles during the 2013 regular season of Japan's Pacific League, is expected to command at least a $100 million contract or at least $17 million in annual salary.

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