masahiro tanakaWhen Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer last week told Dave Kaplan that the Cubs would be “involved in the process” of Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka, should he be posted by his team in Japan, there was necessarily a certain level of circumspection. Although Tanaka, what with his free availability, his age (25), and his ability, is certainly a fit for the Cubs, he is a fit for many teams for the same reasons. Teams with deeper pockets. Teams that don’t lose out on bidding wars.

But Hoyer didn’t back down when he arrived at the GM Meetings last night, telling ESPN and CSN that the Cubs “wouldn’t [scout Tanaka] for nothing,” and they plan to be a part of the process. And, to put it in Hoyer’s parlance, I don’t think Hoyer would be saying this publicly for nothing. The Cubs are legitimately interested in making a real attempt to get Tanaka. We can all accept that now. Groovy.

That said, we don’t yet know what the posting process is going to look like (or when it will be resolved). A source tells that MLB has submitted a proposal for a revamped posting system to the NPB (the pro league in Japan), and they are simply awaiting a response. (Ken Davidoff reported overnight that the possible resolution will still have the top bidder winning the post (and only the top bidder), but the price will be the average of the top two bids). Until the system is settled, there will be no movement on Tanaka. And, until there’s movement on Tanaka, a number of other offseason moves could be held up.

I can’t help but wonder if the Cubs are hoping the posting process changes sufficiently that there isn’t just one winner of the post. Perhaps, as some have speculated, three teams can “win” if their bid is among the top three, and then each will have the opportunity to negotiate with the player. If that’s the setup, I could see the Cubs being in the top three bids.

But, man, it’s not a lock.

First of all, you’ve got the Yankees, who are – in my mind – the prohibitive favorite for Tanaka. With a posting fee that doesn’t count against the luxury tax cap, the Yankees have infinite money with which to make the posting bid. I see no reason that they will not bid sky-high. The Yankees need pitching as much as the Cubs.

Then you’ve got the Dodgers, who have shown since new ownership took over that they’ll pay any amount for any player. They also want another starting pitcher (because their rotation is so crappy … ), so you can expect a second sky-high bid.

Even if you forgot about the Dodgers and Yankees, there are also the Rangers and Red Sox, who are deep-pocketed and willing to go big on guys like Tanaka. And there’s always another team or two lurking. All of these teams will want Tanaka just as badly as the Cubs. So, if it’s a three-team process, the Cubs might have a chance. But they might not.

That is all to say, I totally buy the Cubs’ involvement in the Tanaka process. And if the posting system changes dramatically, I could even buy the Cubs having a chance to sign him. But, absent an extreme, out-of-pocket commitment by ownership to spend big on the posting fee, I don’t see the Cubs being the top bidder. Imagine that the posting fee is $100 million (not out of the question) – that’s 1/3 the price of the Wrigley Field portion of the renovation plans. Think about that. It’s hard to see ownership making that kind of up-front commitment, given where the revenue streams are right now.

  • Die hard

    Just raising ante for Dodgers

  • Frank

    Hoyer is keeping up a charade to blow smoke up everyones ass. He just wants to take the pressure off himself and Theo knowing 2014 is going to suck and they did their best to get Tanaka. Pardon me while I fart a smoke ring.

  • Die hard

    Which Cub to do MTV video ? Can’t wait to see Buds LOL

  • Jon

    Here is the link to the article (thanks for the heads up)

    “He said [Rudy] Jaramillo ‘‘might be the best in the world at the mechanics of the swing.’’

    ‘‘I think mechanics are important,’’ Epstein said, ‘‘but until we sort of embrace as an organization the right approach, mechanics almost have to take a back seat at times. And that was part of the motivation for the move.’’”

    Big “whoops” on that one for boy genius.

    • hansman

      Interesting how the negative impacts to firing Jaramillo didn’t show up until this season.

      • Fishin Phil

        Especially as they were sooooo productive under his watch.

      • Blublud

        Firing Jaramillo was still a mistake in my opinion. But its not a new thing for a new regime to bring in a new manager and new coaches. Don’t think it would have made much difference either way.

  • baseballet

    Cubs are just tossing in their ante before they fold.

    • DarthHater

      Best analogy so far today.

  • SenorGato

    Hoyer is lying. Well, maybe he’s being more obtuse. The Cubs will be in on Tanaka but according to the internet they have little more than 15 dollars to spend this offseason. Fucking RIcketts dipped into the piggy bank for a deep dish pepperoni every Saturday this season and could not generate enough revenue streams to cover it. The guy knows he’s broke and he did this anyway! Sick.

    • Fishin Phil

      If it’s on the internet, it has to be true!

      • mjhurdle

        I read somewhere online that the internet never lies, so Im going to have to agree with your point :)

    • Chef Brian

      No way! The internet says Ricketts is broke and he only has 15 dollars to spend on pizzas and free agents! Oooooh noooo!

    • Brains

      He’s not broke, he just is more interested in operations than in on the field play. He figures we’re losers who will eat whatever he shovels into our mouths because there’s no winning tradition, and in the meantime he can get other things in order on the business side, like paying back the loan he took from himself.

      I personally *only* care about the team. Wrigley can stay as it is, so can the neighborhood. So there’s a major disconnect in baseball values between the new owners and my engagement with the team. Give me a guy to root for!

  • Moises Canchola

    I hope they are really in on him they missed out on Ryu and Darvish both are studs and Tanaka seems to be same way so they need to be in. No more papa johns pizza for ricketts so he can save on Tanaka

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Tanaka is not supposed to be of the same caliber as Darvish. And, remember, 28 other teams missed out on Darvish. If the accounts of the bidding are at all accurate, then the #2+#3 bids combined were less than the Ranger’s bid.

      Ryu obviously was a bit more realistic. But, again, 28 other teams underbid the Dodgers, including teams with deep pockets. So, it’s not like the Cubs failed when everybody else succeeded: the Dodgers succeeded where probably a dozen teams failed.

      • cubes

        wait every team is required to post a bid? that does not sound right…

  • TOOT

    Tanaka not happening. No way Cubs drop 100 Mil on this guy. They didn’t drop 50 mil Yu.

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