FULL COUNT: Boston and Rakuten claim titles, offseason begins

This past week the Red Sox won their eighth World Series championship after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in six games, while the Rakuten Golden Eagles won their first Japan Series title after beating the Yomiuri Giants in seven games.

Boston’s right fielder Shane Victorino earned his second ring — his first came with the Phillies in 2008 — while relievers Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara each won their first.

Victorino is signed through 2015. While Tazawa is arbitration eligible and Uehara is an unrestricted free agent, I do expect both pitchers to return to Boston.

Meanwhile Rakuten ace Masahiro Tanaka had his 26-game winning streak was snapped on Nov. 2 with a 4-2 complete game loss to the Giants.

His 30-start unbeaten streak is a professional baseball record.

The 25-year-old is expected to get a record deal when he signs with an MLB club. The Yankees, Cubs, Giants, Dodgers and Angels are among the teams heavily pursuing him.

And while most teams are in offseason mode, Tanaka isn’t done just yet. The Golden Eagles will participate in the Asia Series in Taiwan beginning on Nov. 15 – a round robin competition between the champions from Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Australia.

Tanaka will likely be signed following the tourney.

So where will he end up?

Just think about which team can pay him the most.

In local news, the Oakland Athletics declined to pick up the option on catcher Kurt Suzuki meaning he’s now a free agent.

Drew Morita, a Yonsei from the island of Kaua‘i, grew up rooting for the Oakland A’s but is now a loyal San Francisco Giants fan. He writes from San Francisco. Follow him @drewmorita or e-mail him at drew_morita@yahoo.com.

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