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NEW YORK - The bidding for Japanese star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has begun.

All 30 major league teams have been notified that the 30-day period to sign the star 25-year-old right-hander began at 8 a.m. EST Thursday, according to Major League Baseball spokesman Michael Teevan. Clubs have until 5 p.m. on Jan. 24 to attempt to reach an agreement with the ace.

If Tanaka and a major league team come to terms, that franchise is required to pay his Japanese club, the Rakuten Eagles, a posting fee, now capped at $20 million under the new deal between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball.

Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA with the Eagles during the regular season.

He will be represented by Excel Sports Management during the process.

Associated Press,

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