Oakland has made pushes for big-name imports, signing Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year deal prior to the 2012 season and falling just short to the Reds in the race for Aroldis Chapman. Last year, the team also signed Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima to an agreement worth $6.5 million for two years.
Oakland has gone as high as $79 million on their payroll in the last decade, but was around $62 million last period. The team has very little guaranteed contracts moving forward, with $43.6 million at present owed in player contracts next season to seven players.
After the 2014 season, only Cespedes and Scott Kazmir have any certain money residual. Cespedes is owed $10.5 million in 2015 while Kazmir will be in the final year of a two-year; $22 million deal signed this offseason. Thus, the team has plenty of suppleness to work in a major deal to Tanaka.
Oakland’s signing of Kazmir gives them a deep revolution already as he joins Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily. The team also has Tommy Milone and Drew Pomeranz to give them depth.
The Athletics will also have to resist with some heavy hitters in the race for Tanaka. The Cubs and Yankees both see him as dangerous in their offseason plans. The Mariners have been viewed as the preferred to land the pitcher and have had a strong relationship to Japan. They also have been willing to spend this offseason and want to make a big push towards opposing. The Dodgers and Rangers have also had interest in acquire Tanaka, among others.