The Angels' pursuit of pitching this winter will likely extend to the Far East where a significant rotation boost could be acquired without having to trade players such as Mark Trumbo or Howie Kendrick.

The Angels who beat the Oakland Athletics 12-1 Monday night had a scout in Japan last week to watch Masahiro Tanaka pitch and they are considering a run at the undefeated Rakuten Eagles right-hander whom scouts project as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter in the major leagues.

The 6-foot-2 215-pound Tanaka who features a 94-mph fastball sharp slider and a superb split-fingered fastball won't come cheap. If the Eagles as expected post Tanaka it could cost a major league team $25 million or more just to obtain the rights to negotiate a deal with him.

Tanaka 24 could be worth it. Two scouts who have seen Tanaka pitch but are not authorized to speak publicly about him said that although Tanaka might not be in Texas ace Yu Darvish's class he could be as good as or better than Hiroki Kuroda who is 68-68 with a 3.37 earned-run average in six big league seasons.

"I don't think he has the creativity and the multiple weapons of Darvish but Kuroda is a really good comparison" one scout said. "He has three good pitches and his splitter is a legitimate out pitch."

Tanaka is 21-0 with a 1.24 ERA 155 strikeouts and 27 walks in 181 innings. With such a thin free-agent pitching class he could be an attractive option for teams.

A potential change to the posting system could add intrigue to his pursuit. Under the current system the team that submits the highest sealed bid earns the right to negotiate with a player.

But Newsday reported Monday that the process could be changed to where the player can choose the team he wants to negotiate with from the top three bids.