In response to BMav's comment:
I find it interesting that almost everybody including the experts see Tanaka as a number 2-3. Almost nobody mentions him as a number 1 or even as a possible number 1.
Compare him to two former Japanese starters, Hisashi Iwakuma and Hiroki Kuroda. Tanaka has better stuff then both. Better velocity then both, especially Iwakuma. And much better stats and perfomance then both in Japan. Not really comparable. Tanaka is also much younger with some upside still possible, where as Kuroda is old. Yet Hisashi Iwakuma and Hiroki Kuroda last year were number 1's.
Based on everything I have seen, he looks like the 12th to 15th best starter next year. What would that be worth if he was a free agent 25 year old? 6-24 seems very reasonable to me. I think he will get 20+ million plus the 20 posting fee.
I doubt the Red Sox will get him. It would force them to trade both Dempster and Peavy or go over the tax, plus it would affect the Lester's of the world too much.
Hopefully nobody in the A.L. East gets him.
In watching him pitch on youtube and reading scouting reports. There's little doubt that he has the stuff and the moixy to pitch in the big leagues. As with all players regardless of their origin. no one can accurately access how he'll fare facing big league hitters. Until he takes the mound and proves he can compete at the big league level.
Afixing a value on him in terms of evaulating his pure stuff and how well it translates to the big leagues, despite his gaudy stats in Japan is the 100 million dollar question facing the teams that go all in for him. So if we compare him to the three Japanese starters that have had success. Darvish's cleary is the best pitcher to come from Japan since Nomo he's a once in a generation type of talant who's top end fastball is a legit 96 complemented with an arsenal of legit major league pitches. if you look at his stats in Japan his K's per 9 rate was greater than his innings pitched and that remains true in the big leagues. Tanaka's not in the same class in terms of pure stuff...The other two Kuroda and Iwakuma both rely on movement and command Tanaka has been compared favorably to Kuorda. Tanaka throws a four seam fastball in low 90's one that's straight as an arrow, mixes in a slider and uses the splitter as his out pitch. it's his fastball that gives me pause, not unlike Matsusaka it's tough to put away big league hitters with a fastball in low 90's one that lacks movement. Suggesting that he'll need to develop a two seamer to compliment his splitter which is a pitch that both Kuroda and Iwakuma have in thier arsenals.
All that said, there are three or fours big market clubs that need pitching the list is headed by the Yankees, Phillies, Angels and the Cub's. One of them is gong to make the kid an offer he can't refuse. As such if you're the Red Sox given that starting pitching is an area of strength heading into the season with Lester on the last year of his deal, not sure that they'll break the bank or extent themselves on an unproven talant. Ultimately one of the above or perhaps Texas or even a dark horse team like the Orioles will throw caution to the wind and offer the kid 20 plus over 7 or 8 years...