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D-backs have 'plan of attack' for recruiting Tanaka

PHOENIX -- The D-backs are confident that they will get an opportunity to make their case to free agent Masahiro Tanaka.

When that will happen and what they will say when they do speak with him, well, that's not something they are willing to discuss at this point.

"Casey Close has done a nice job, I'm sure not only with us, but with everyone else, to kind of keep us informed on the timing, the schedules and how things are going to work," D-backs GM Kevin Towers said referring to Tanaka's agent. "He's pretty much asked those clubs that are involved that just less is better and not to really say anything or divulge the process or what's happening. We're all up to speed with what's to take place and how it will take place, just really not in the position to share any of it."

Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles last year and was recently posted by the Eagles after months of speculation.

The D-backs have made no secret of the fact that they are willing to put up the $20 million posting fee, but whether they are able to prevail in what could become a bidding war among the game's financial heavyweights remains to be seen.

The deadline for teams to reach a deal with Tanaka is 3 p.m. MT on Jan. 24.

The D-backs are unlikely to make the highest financial offer to Tanaka, with speculation being that his deal could exceed $100 million, but they hope that they are able to show that there are other benefits to playing in Arizona.

What might some of those selling points be?

"I probably don't want to divulge a lot of those, kind of what our plan of attack is and how we sell ourselves or how we maybe separate ourselves from the larger-market clubs," Towers said. "But we've thought a lot about it and prepared for it. When that point in time comes, I think we certainly have a plan of attack."

The D-backs pride themselves on having created what they feel is a unique organizational culture based on giving back to the community, and a family atmosphere that starts with managing general partner Ken Kendrick and team president/CEO Derrick Hall.

That figures to be a point of emphasis when they speak with Tanaka.

"Really, a lot of it is selling who we are and what we're about," Towers said. "I can speak for Ken and Derrick and myself that we're pretty easygoing people that are not real plastic at all. Kind of 'What you see is what you get,' and I think some people like that style. It's pretty casual, but it's real and it's straightforward and not a lot of bells and whistles, just kind of who we are. I think that's a great quality about this organization and what I love about this organization. It's kind of down home good people."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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