masahiro tanakaBaseball America’s Ben Badler is a smart dude, and he puts into words my thoughts on the Masahiro Tanaka posting situation about as well as I could have. If you care at all about the Tanaka story, it is required reading.

I don’t want to ape Badler’s work, but the gist is a more amplified version of what many of us have been discussing in the comments over the past few days: while the Rakuten Eagles (Tanaka’s team) may be pissed that their $70+ million payday just shrank to $20 million, that’s still a lot of money to turn your back on because of pride. More importantly, if Rakuten doesn’t post Tanaka this offseason, they could have a problem next offseason when they try to post him (he’s under team control for two more years). Sensing a bigger payday if he waited just one more year and was a true free agent, Tanaka could make a $20 million bet on himself and refuse to sign with whatever MLB team wins his rights next year. If that happens, Rakuten gets nothing. For the record, $20 million is more than nothing.

Badler’s piece links to a couple Japanese articles featuring thoughts from Rakuten’s president that imply he will leave the posting decision up to Tanaka. Perhaps the team will figure out a way to entice Tanaka to stay, but he’s looking at a $100 million payday in the States, and made just $3.8 million in Japan last year. The economics here are stark, and it’s almost impossible to envision Tanaka not wanting to make the leap now, when his value is arguably the highest. After all, the very posting changes that are frustrating Rakuten are designed to put a hell of a lot more money in Tanaka’s pocket.

To my mind, assuming Rakuten acts rationally, and assuming Tanaka doesn’t have some yet unknown reason for staying in Japan, there is very little reason to believe he won’t be posted. The MLB/NPB deal could be formalized next week, and we could have our answer soon. If Tanaka is posted under the new system, as it has been reported, teams will be able to bid for his rights, up to $20 million. The teams that tie for his rights at $20 million will be able to negotiate with him over the following month of craziness. (Yes, that will definitely produce an Obsessive Tanaka Watch.)

  • Chuyz

    Max bid 20 mil then a 5yr/75 mil should get it done..

    • Kyle

      I think you are short by almost half on the contract value.

    • Eric

      I think you mean 7/150 will get it done.

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        I don’t know about the years. Tanaka might want 5 if he thinks he can ink another deal at 30 for big bucks. Maybe 7 year deal with opt-out at 5. He’s got a lot of leverage in this system.

        • Jay

          Yes, but the only leverage he doesn’t have is that he’s never thrown a pitch over here to MLB hitters. It will be interesting to see what team’s scouting reports ultimately dictate regarding the offers he gets.

      • Assman22

        Jury is still out on what kind of offers teams are seriously willing to give to Tanaka…he is indeed seeking a 4-5 year deal…logic would tell you no team should give up a Matt Cain contract to a SP who’s never thrown a single inning in MLB…Seattle and LAD may do it anyway however…figures range anywhere from $15-24 mil AAV from what I’ve heard…Tanaka is a shorter poor man’s version of Darvish but a better and much younger talent than Iwakuma as far as Japanese comps…Darvish was, is, and always will be far superior to Tanaka…will be very interesting to see where he lands once he’s posted…

  • Blackhawks1963

    Sigh. There is snowball chance in hell that Tanaka signs with the Cubs under the new posting system. He becomes a free agent available go any team that submits the $20 M max bid.

    Do we really think the Yankees are going to lose a salary negotiation war against other teams? And why on earth would Tanaka want to play for the Cubs in the first place?

    I want this Tanaka crap over so we can move on to more relevant topics.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      If the Yankees can’t ditch the Arod contract and are serious about staying under the salary cap – yes, we do think that. That is a very plausible, very possible scenario right now.

      • Mike

        I am sure he would take a little less money to pitch for the yankees….cubs won’t be good for a few more years and that’s not even a sure thing if the prospects don’t pan out…

        • waittilthisyear

          im not sure that is something you should be sure about

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Why would he take less money to be trashed and vilified by the press and booed incessantly every time he did something that the reporters didn’t like? I’m not sure he’d give the Yankees a discount just to become the new most hated man in the city if he should struggle in his first half a dozen starts.

          My point is that there are negatives to every city. I doubt he’ll make a decision on the basis of nothing more than payroll and recent win-loss records. It’s probably going to be more complex and multi-faceted than that.

        • Eric

          In my mind, there is only one reason why a 25 year old man would leave everything he’s ever know to start life over in a completely different country. Money. He will go to whomever promises him the most cash. It might be the Cubs, it might not. But if it is the Cubs, and they flat out told him that they won’t be winning over 50 games a season while he’s here, he would still take the ball every 5th day.

          • Kyle

            100% agree

            • Eric

              No Kyle you’re…..wait…..wha?!?


              • Kyle

                I mean, occasionally you might find an athlete who has his heart set on a team for not obvious reasons, but you can’t count on it.

                We got Ron Santo because he felt loyal to the freelance scout the Cubs sent after him, even after the team severely lowballed his signing bonus.

                We got Dawson because he gave the team a blank contract and told them to fill in a number.

                • Eric

                  That’s true, but keep in mind that those guys weren’t changing countries (yes, I know the Expos were in Canada). For Tanaka, I don’t see how there could be any sentimental feels that would bias him. I could be wrong.

                  • Kyle

                    I hope maybe somehow he had a Sosa jersey growing up. Better shot than us actually outbidding other teams for him.

                    • Eric

                      Maybe he was a Fukodome fan?

                  • Andrew

                    Idk if this is true necesarily. They might not want to move to a city without at least some Japanese presence. I know Kuroda was set on being either a yankee or dodger because of that factor. I could see why a foreigner wouldnt be too excited about living in a city devoid of diversity (can’t think of any right now, maybe kansas city?)

              • Whiteflag

                I think money talks, but so do World Series Championships. I don’t think, you can assume he will go to whoever promises him the most cash.

          • Ron

            I actually disagree. Where you win a World Series is not equal. When you are young you want to be a part of history, as you get older you just want to win. With him being only 25 and the real potential for 2 mlb contracts in his career, I think the Cubs could have some real apeal if you offer a Cespedes type contract.

            • Whiteflag

              I’m not sure we disagree. I just pointing out, sometimes money isn’t the only factor. Like you pointed out, maybe being a part of history will be important to him. You just never know. I’m not saying the Cubs, don’t have as good a shot as anyone. I am just saying money, might not be the only thing he is looking for. Sorry, if my previous statement didn’t convey that very well.

              • Ron

                I wasn’t actually trying to respond to you but yeah, i think we are on the same page.

        • Blackhawks1963

          I’m all for being positive, by c’mon. There are going to be a boatload of teams who submit the $20 m max bid. Of all the teams that do, the Cubs surely will rate among the least attractive for Tanaka to consider. He’s going to had all the big contenders in the game to consider.

          The Cubs will be an extreme longshot in this.

          • Rebuilding

            The Cubs have more money than all teams except the Dodgers. We have 2 competitors at this point – the Mariners and the Dodgers. This FO has their heart set on this guy – we’ll get him.

            • Blackhawks1963

              How can you possibly say that? The Dodgers, Yankees and even the Mariners are not going to be limited in the least bit on contract terms they can offer Tanaka. Have you not paid attention to the last several days of hyper spending around the league?

        • Chef Brian

          Why would he take less to play for the Yankees? He owes them nothing and they are an aging team that isn’t going anywhere. So why wouldn’t he take the Cubs money, it’s green like everyone else’s.

        • Gcheezpuff

          He is only 25 and might want to play with guys his own age rather then a bunch of 40 year olds. Plus, the Cubs are not unknown to Japanes players as they signed Fukedome. I am less worried about the Yankees and more worries about Seattle.

      • Mike

        Yankees could have an edge with Kuroda and Ichiro. They could make the transition easier for Tanaka.

        • Cub Lifer

          That’s right. The Yankees just gave McCann $100 m, Ellsbury $156 m, Beltran $46 m and Kurodo $16 m. They are not going to lose a salary negotiation on Tanaka. Especially since they need pitching and no longer are sticking with their goal to stay under she luxury tax cap.

          And if not the Yankees, then Texas and both LA teams could offer a blank check. What gets lost too is that the Yankees have Ichiro and Kuroda in place for the recruitment war.

          All in all, I bet Tanaka wants to play for a contender.

        • cubfanincardinalland

          I would bet he doesn’t even know Ichiro or Kuroda. He was 15 when they started playing in the us.

          • Andrew

            So he gets to play with his teenage idols? how is that not appealing. I’m sure any 15 year old Japanese boy who was in love with baseball knows about two of his country’s greatest players of all time.

    • Kyle

      “Do we really think the Yankees are going to lose a salary negotiation war against other teams?”

      They literally just did like yesterday.

      • Spoda17

        They had no intentions of brining back Cano, MLB TV has been reporting that Cashman purposely lowballed a number so another team would feel like they could land Cano, well it worked.

        • SK

          Not only that, I heard the Yankees purposely didn’t make the playoffs last year so other teams could feel like they could make it.

          Well it worked.

  • Cheryl

    Brett, Assuming he is posted, why would he want to come to Chicago? There’ll be some pretty deep pockets bidding for him. Given past history would the Ricketts even be competitive?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      There are some advantages to Chicago.

      With the Cubs he would be in a huge media market, which should help maximize his marketing opportunities, but won’t be under the microscope right away with the Cubs like he would with the Dodgers or Yankees. Having a year or so without immediate playoff pressures could actually be attractive to a guy making a huge transition.

      Also with the Cubs, he would be the face of the franchise in the short term and likely the ace for as long as he’s on the team. He won’t be the number two starter behind anyone – and he would some of the other likely contenders.

      The Cubs, even under current reduced payroll projections, should still have sufficient cash to out bid most of the true mid-market teams. Someone will probably have to push the bidding into truly ridiculous territories to make the Cubs drop out altogether.

      And the Cubs do have a fairly compelling story regarding their near-term plans. The prospect of being the anchor to the rotation for what possibly could be one of the teams most loaded with young talent in a year or so isn’t such a bad thing.

      That’s not to say that the Cubs are the front runner, but I don’t think we can just assume that they won’t be a serious candidate.

      • Kyle

        Don’t point one “less pressure” and point two “face of the franchise” directly oppose each other?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Not really. Read that as less immediate pressure, not less pressure for the duration of the contract.

          Serving as the main pitching acquisition for a Yankees team that has spent a ton this offseason is probably going to be more pressure-ful in 2014 than serving as the ace of a Cubs team that is not projected to be in contention.

          Now in a few years he would have the pressure of leading the Cubs rotation along with the whole 100+ years business which would, I free admit, be more pressure than he’d likely face on any other team in baseball, but I don’t think that’s likely to be the case next year. He’ll have a little time to learn the league first.

        • roz

          Being the face of the franchise of a Chicago team that won’t be competing right away is less pressure than being the face of the franchise in LA or New York where there will be lots of expectations from the get go. I believe that was what Luke was getting at.

        • Rebuilding

          Kyle, no one takes you seriously on Tanaka at this point. You were pretty sure he wouldn’t be posted 2 days ago when I had to argue he definitely would be

          • Kyle

            You sure about that? I’m not going to say for certain that I never posted any such thing, because I post a lot and it’s hard to keep track of, but I sure as heck don’t remember saying anything like that.

            I don’t know nearly enough about his team’s situation to predict with confidence either way. Only thing I recall saying was that I thought his team’s owner had an interesting history of bucking tradition.

      • Funn Dave

        Good points. I still don’t think he’ll end up in Chicago, but stranger things have happened….

    • Professor Snarks

      Cheryl, the answer is MONEY. If we give him more, he’ll come here.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Not Brett, but the reality is with a low-posting fee, we have no idea what is going to happen. Players–like other human beings–make decisions all the time based on a multitude of factors that may seem rational or irrational, significant or trivial. For all we know he might love Tropicana Field and have always been fascinated with Sanibel Island as a child, so he chooses the Rays for less money. (OK, highly unrealistic on so many levels, but you get the point.)

      The thing is, we have no idea what motivates Tanaka. Sure, money will be part of it, but there could be a lot of other things too.

      I think a signing like Kyuji Fujikawa (one of Japan’s 5 highest player players in 2012), for example, was partly to help establish a Japanese presence–make it a friendly environment for future stars. It wasn’t so much about solidifying the bullpen in 2013 (lolz). Obviously 2013 didn’t turn out as well as the Cubs hoped for him, but I’d not be surprised to see the club lean on him as an ambassador of sorts in a Tanaka discussion.

      Anyone know who else is likely to be posted? Just spit-balling here, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cubs grab a lower-level posting player right out of the gate to assist in persuading a guy like Tanaka. It’s easier to adjust if you’ve got a buddy.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Frank

    I’m glad other people are asking the question I have been asking for weeks. I love the cubs and have been a die hard for 35 years. Why would tanaka want to come here? Let’s say for some reason the Yankees are out. You still may have the dodgers,rangers,d-backs,blue jays… While I want the cubs to get him,I think the only way they do is to pull a mariner and outbid the rest by 50 mil.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Why wouldn’t he want to come here?

      The other big international free agent this offseason signed with the equally bad with a less positive looking future White Sox didn’t he?

      I doubt he’ll make a decision based on little more than major league payroll and win/loss records. For all the negativity that surrounds the Cubs in these comment sections, Chicago is going to be at worst a somewhat attractive destination. That doesn’t mean the Cubs will land him, but they should have as good a shot as anyone.

      • Spoda17

        Luke, totally respect your comments, but no chance we out bid the Yankees. We are Seattle in this scenario, we would have to overpay, and I think the Yankees will “overpay” to make sure they get him. I see no chance the Cubs win this.

        • ClevelandCubsFan

          In theory, the Cubs might be able to overpay more than the Yankees. And in reality, a significant overpayment might be more prudent for the Cubs than the Yankees in this case:

          – age is right for our development plan
          – no draft picks to worry about during rebuild (do Yankees even care anymore about this? I kid.)
          – strong need to fill seats next year while not wrecking “the plan”

          For the Cubs, there is no other player out there that fits as well with what they’re doing. For the Yankees, there are always other players.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      You also forgot to add the Mariners to that list. They’re not done spending yet. Big Asian population center. But considering that he is going to get his money regardless I see the chances of him landing in Chicago as slim.

      • cking25

        I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he ends up in Seattle. It’s as close to home as he can get. Plus they have had great success with Ichiro and Iwakuma.

  • WGNstatic

    I am still not convinced that the logical thing to do for the Golden Eagles will be to post Tanaka after next season and keep him around for one more year.

    Given the old system, there was a strong disincentive for the posting team to post a high profile player in their last year of team control, as the nature of the 1-team negotiating and the very high posting fee would drive the amount received by the player down significantly, so, with just a year left that player would likely opt to stay in Japan for a final year to take advantage of free agency. Now though, that motivation is largely stripped away. Between the much smaller posting fee and the fact that the player will be negotiating with many, if not all, MLB teams as a free agent, the contract he receives will be much closer to the free agent contract, thus greatly reducing the value in sticking around the NPB for a final season to then earn true free agency.

    Yes there is a risk involved for them, but the same is true for any player on a multi year deal, and frankly if Tanaka’s medicals are so scary that the Golden Eagles want to post him this year before his elbow explodes, then MLB teams will see that too and not sign him.

    The one piece I don’t pretend to have any knowledge of is the aspect of a player wanting to come to the states and there existing an informal expectation that the NPB team will accommodate that wish. Of course if that is true, this is all a moot discussion.

    My point is just that it makes relatively little sense, from a purely logical/financial/baseball perspective for the Golden Eagles to post Tanaka this year and to not just wait a season.

  • Mike

    With all the comments theo has been making in the winter meetings about paying crazy money for free agents do we really believe the cubs will be willing to give Tanaka 20 plus million a year if it comes to that.

    • roz

      Not saying yes or no, but Tanaka is an entirely different animal than free agents like Cano or Ellsbury. Cano is 31 and Ellsbury is 30, and are going to be way at the end of their careers by the time their deals are over. They’re on the latter half of the prime of their careers now. On the other hand, Tanaka is 25 is in the beginning of the prime of his career.

      • Mike

        thats’s a good point. But we also don’t know how Tanaka will pitch when he gets here. Will he be a Matsuzaka or Darvish. We have no idea and so a huge contract is as much of a risk if not greater than cano or ellsbury.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          The scouts should have a pretty good idea. The same scouts that can look at pitchers in Double A or Triple A and see how they will do in the majors will have already applied that skill set to Tanaka.

          The scouts are sometimes wrong, of course, but any team who can’t trust their scouts in a situation like this has much bigger issues.

          • Kyle

            I’m not too worried. Concepcion notwithstanding, pitching scouting is usually pretty accurate in terms of figuring out where a guy is immediately. It’s harder to tell if he a guy can hit immediately.

        • Professor Snarks

          Good points, also, but at some point you have to take the risk. Ellsbury and Choo probably weren’t (due to our likely timeline) worth the money, but an inning eating 25 year old pitcher may be.

  • Rebuilding

    Wow, I’m shocked. Just like I suggested

    • YourResidentJag
      • Rebuilding

        Wanna bet he gets posted?

        • YourResidentJag

          No, but I will bet you’re taking a very Anglo view of this whole thing.

          • Rebuilding

            Uhhhh…what? I actually lived in Japan for a year. I’m willing to bet you don’t have the slightest understanding of Japanese culture

            • YourResidentJag

              So, you understand the importance of a Japanese owner not wanting to lose out on millions with respect to his team(by the nature of living there a year of course). I guess you’re right that’s not Anglo anything….that’s universal.

              • Rebuilding

                No, I understand the Japanese point of dignity. Which entails saying you are not a farm system for the MLB when you obviously are. And saying you are offended by the posting system when you will post.

                • YourResidentJag

                  Huh? A myriad of contradiction in that post. From what I know of Japanese culture, studied in a graduate seminar course, it takes more than a yr living there to understand it’s intricacies.

                  • Rebuilding

                    The intricacies are honor. They don’t want their league to be subservient to the MLB, yet it obviously is. Hence his defiant quotes. They also believe strongly that their word is their honor. He voted for the posting system and his league wants it – a break from that would be non-conformist – not conforming to the will of the whole is Frowned upon. They are a group, and the group has spoken

                    • Rebuilding

                      Not to get off on a political tangent, but there is a reason that Communism has flourished more in Asia than anywhere else (Russia is half Asian peoples). The word of the group or collective is highly respected there. Where we are more likely to question the “group” in the West (rightly or wrongly) that is not the case in the East. They revere their elders and pride themselves to conformity. That is not a judgment. It’s just different. For the Eagles not to post, after the league agreeing to it, would be highly offensive to the other owners and the league

                    • YourResidentJag

                      The Japanese cultural has shifted. This shift occurred well before the turn of the millenium. As an influx of Westernized culture and ideas came to Japan, old guard ideals have become increasingly more muddled with mixed messages. I don’t the ideals of the owner of Tanaka’s team but if it subscribes to increasingly Westernized ways of operating economically, he definitely would be wise to hold out posting Tanaka. You can trump up Japanese feeder system to MLB all you wish. At the end of the day, anyone who dare suggest MLB should have a salary cap would be declared as to misunderstanding the value of FAs to command as much as they wish in a capitalistic economy. The same goes then for instituting restrictive posting fees on highly capitalistic Japanese economy that subscribes equally or more to Westernized principles these days than “old-guard” Japanese traditions.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      You’re falling to understand that those ideals are highly valued by modern generations of Japanese peoples as you’d like them to be.

                    • YourResidentJag


                    • Rebuilding

                      Believe what you will. The younger Japanese dye their hair and go crazy over Western culture. This is tolerated as a wilding phase to find their true self. Japanese businessmen still very much have a code of honor. If his league has agreed to it, the owner of the Eagles will respect it

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Again, read the article. It’s states this as it’s underlying principle.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Like I said – do you want to believe in honorable posturing or that he will be posted? He will be posted by the end of next week. You can either believe that or ignore it and riff about the Cubs missing on Choo next week

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Huh? The powers of assumption are STRONG with this one. As strong to assume that I want Choo, but that somehow adding his WAR value to this team would likely take the Cubs out of the running of acquiring the #1 or #2 pick in the 2015 draft.

              • TK

                They also, from top to bottom, are extremely eager to see one of their own achieve uncommon success abroad. They root for the success of players who come to MLB, regardless of what team they played on in Japan, or any other previous points of contention. Irabu was a fine example . . . He was already disliked by many before coming to MLB, but once he did, most Japanese got behind him and supported him. It didn’t matter that they previously thought of him as a real ass . . . he was a Japanese player, pursuing his dream, displaying courage and dedication, representing Japan. They rallied behind him, as Im quite sure Tanaka knows will happen with him if he chooses to come. And although his team may be disappointed in the new posting system, the VALUES that they carry will not promote/permit them standing in Tanaka’s way. Ichiro is literally a national hero . . . In great part for the success he had HERE. This crap about Tanaka’s team pouting and somehow immaturely standing in his way, taking out their problems on an individual, is just ignorant garbage. If Tanaka wants to play MLB, he will. If he isn’t posted, that will have been HIS decision, DESPITE support and encouragement from all around him.

                • TK

                  Rakuten would seriously be rolling the dice if they tried to impede Tanaka. It would be seen as petty and shameful. Their FO would take some serious licks for not caring about the greater good that could come from Tanaka playing MLB.

                  • TK

                    They then would also have to contend with a reputation . . . MANY MANY MANY young kids’, especially Darvish fans, life’s dreams are playing MLB. NPB is great, but ultimiately, they want to play MLB. Who would want to play for Rakuten if they wont post players?

  • Jono

    Shmeh, he’s no curtis granderson ……..

  • Rebuilding

    Why would Tanaka come here? Well, for starters we can offer him the most money outside of the Dodgers. And for another he’ll be our Opening Day starter and face of the franchise. For another, we are the Hanshin Tigers of MLB, they are called the loveable losers, as well. Having spent time in Japan, many Japanese players have signed with them to break the “curse”. It might be appealing to him. For another we have a forward looking FO

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Will. not. be. opening. day. starter.

      How do you look last year’s ODS in the face and say, “Hey, Jeff, I know you were our guy, but there’s this unproven Japanese star that we want to have that honor in your place.”

      Or, in bypassing Shark, how do you not give it to our lone All Star and “breakout pitcher of the year” (whatever that means, exactly), Travis Wood.

      • Rebuilding

        You say that you had an over 4.00 ERA and won’t agree to an extension

        • ClevelandCubsFan

          If he’s gone, Wood gets the nod.

          • Rebuilding

            If Tanaka is signed, he will start on Opening Day. There is no question about it. He’ll they will probably promise it to him. Samardzija want sign an extension. Wood is under team control anyway. They aren’t going to worry about hurting those guys feelings

            • ClevelandCubsFan

              Yeah. Disagree.

    • Cheryl

      Rebuilding, What you and Luke said makes a lot of sense. There may be more of a chance him coming here than I thought and I liked your explanation of what the Japanese sense of honor meant.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    My question is. Will the FO pull the trigger on a Samardzija deal before they find out the results of the Tanaka sweepstakes? I know everybody wants this to just go away, but is isn’t going to. At what point is Sharks value the highest. Before or after?

    • Professor Snarks

      Two totally independent events. Unless you believe the ‘we can’t spend money’ line, the Cubs can afford both. If Shark doesn’t want to sign, he’s gone, and a team trading for him could care less if we got Tanaka or not.
      Now, if Shark signs for less because he thinks the Tanaka signing shows him the Cubs want to win, then maybe you’re right.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      More value after. Some teams might not be interested in Shark if they think they might land Tanaka.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Brett, can we get a rundown of other possibly posted players (PPPs)?

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I think there was a good point made. If we were to sign Tanaka then possibly Shark would sign thinking that the FO is making a serious effort to compete. Personally I don’t think he is down for another two years that look like the last two. I can’t blame him at all for that.

  • cards suck

    Tom wrigley ricketts aint spending no money. cubs wil only get others trash.

  • Jon

    I want him to sign with the Cubs so Blackhawks1963 will finally shut the fuck up.

  • Cheese Chad

    What would be the advantage of keeping Tanaka in Japan one more year? I doubt they earn $20,000,000 (it’s fun to post the whole number sometimes) by keeping him but there has to be a benefit, winning a title, fans in the seats, etc.. It could be worth it for them to wait a year, get benefits for a year, and get the $20 million next year. That’s obviously more risky if Tanaka doesn’t want to be posted next year. Thoughts?

    • YourResidentJag

      They stand to lose more (the team’s revenue that is) by posting him especially after that team won the equivelant of the American WS.

      • Cheese Chad

        So they could earn more by keeping him you are saying?

        • YourResidentJag

          Well, according to this article…it’s a lot more murky than clear cut the team will post him and it’s intricately tied to Tanaka’s team’s revenues. http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/mlb/new-npb-posting-system-masahiro-tanakas-market

          • Brains

            yeah keep wanking that the cubs will get tanaka. we won’t come in the top 5 of bidders because he’s going to go for so high. then what? “well he was too expensive”. says the second most profitable team in the national league, on track to lose 100 games again.

          • Cheese Chad

            That’s a very interesting and informative article. Thank you, sir.

  • True(ly) Blue

    Money talks LOUDLY ! Tanaka to Yankees or Dodgers. My bet is Dodgers.

  • Cheese Chad


  • AD

    As many have said, I don’t think that Samardzija gets traded until the Tanaka situation is resolved. However, Seattle could make a very interesting landing spot. Really like lefties Hultzen and Paxon. Either of those could be packaged with someone like Franklin for a nice return.

    • TK

      I not only agree with that, but I think ALL cubs ops are on hold pending the outcome of the Tanaka situation. Getting him or not getting could weigh heavily on the short term (2014) direction/decisions of the organization. Getting him could mean making Shark stay & accelerating The Plan. Not getting him likely means bye bye Jeff, and 500 AAA AB for both Baez and Bryant.

  • cubsin

    1. The benefits to Tanaka of refusing a posting next year is to perhaps sign a bigger contract two years from now and to punish Rakuten for not posting him now. The benefits of accepting a posting next year are more money ($15 or so million from his new MLB club versus $4 or $5 million from Rakuten) and a long-term guaranteed contract that protects him if he’s injured during the 2015 season. Which would you chose?

    2. Brett, there’s little point in starting the Obsessive Tanaka Watch (whenever it happens) until day 28, 29 or 30 of the posting period. He’ll be deluged with offers and counteroffers.

    3. The belief that the Cubs have more money to spend than “everyone but the Dodgers” is ludicrous. The Yankees pay exorbinant salaries and exorbinant MLB taxes and still make enormous profits. The Red Sox, Mariners, Dodgers and Angels have wealthy owners and the latter two teams have huge TV revenue guaranteed long term. The Cubs plan to commit $500 million to ballpark improvements and a hotel and have many restraints and covenants tied to their purchase of the team.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Tanaka, like any foreign player, will now have to pay federal and state income taxes. California and New York teams are at a distinct disadvantage when trying to sign these foreign players. Both states have 13 % state taxes for those ultra type earners like professional ball players.
    The state of Washington I believe has no state income tax and played a role in the Cano signing. Texas as well has no state income tax versus our 5% in Illinois.
    Trust me the agent for Tanaka will be doing the math on these proposals when negotiating with the high bidders.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Great point.

  • IndyCubsFan

    Read Phillies looking to unload Papelbon. Think we inquired about this?

  • Senator Crazy

    Tom Verducci said today that it is unclear whether the Japanese team intends to post Tanaka. They are unhappy with fhe agreement and might end up keeping Tanaka in Japan for a final year. Apparently his status changes next year, but I’m unclear of what Tom was trying to explain.

    Anyway, it’s Tom’s expectation that if Tanaka does get posted then we may see every single major league team submit the max bid because to do so doesn’t cost anything…only the team he signs with would obviously have to fork over the $20 million to the Japan team.

    Tim further says that it may take a contract with guaranteed money of greater than $140 million to get a contract sign. All things considered Tom thinks that Tanaka winds up, in his order, with the Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers. Seattle holds appeal because he has already been to that city in the past and knows they have a prominent Japanese American population. Tom said the Yankees will not let the luxury tax get in the way of getting Tanaka and are prepared to have fellow countryman Ichiro and Kuroda play a big role in the courting process.

    Tom’s sleeper team? San Francisco. The Bay Area is home to lots of Japanese Americans and the Giants are one of the most followed teams next to the Yankees, Mets and Mariners in that country.

  • Brains

    I just don’t understand why the Cubs felt like they had to insult Shark with a crap contract offer in this market before they trade him. Now we’ve shown all of our cards again and a team can give up less because it’s clear that was just a kick in the ass on his way out the door.

    • Eric

      Do you know what the offer was? If you consider the rumored offer of 5 years and more than $55 million is ‘insulting’ I don’t what to tell you. While he clearly has the potentially he certainly hasn’t performed at the level of a #1 or 2 starter thus far.

      BTW, Shark is not a free agent for two years so referring to the current free agent market is not an apt comparison.

      • Brains

        these guys are running a second rate operation right now. i’m not sure who is responsible, but if you don’t want to pay a lot up front for whatever reason, explain it and then back load it. same thing they did to garza.

      • TK

        I could understand very well that position, if the 5/55 thing is true. They knew they had his situation approaching, then went and WASTED all that $$$ on Ejax. If they can pay EJax that much, they should be willing to pay Shark around $15m AT LEAST! How in the world do you throw $13m (in reality) at EJax then turn around and offer Shark $2m LESS. If youre Shark, and this all unfolded over the last 12 months as such, would you not be to some degree professionally offended? I know I’d be throwing the EJax contract out there, saying “5/55 is an insult and you obviously dont want me!” If they offered me $11m I wouldn’t even entertain any further discussions. That’d be all I needed to hear. In fact, Id probably be so upset, that “someone familiar with the negotiations” would leak the insulting offer to the media just to embarrass the FO.

        It cant always be about control and maximizing profits. At some point the FO has to consider the MEN they’re conducting business with. You pay a man what he’s worth. If they don’t, they’ll create a bad rep to overcome in all future negotiations, including convincing FA’s to come to Chicago.

        • Edwin

          It’s not a question of how much shark is worth. It’s about how much the cubs have to pay him. The cubs are not going to pay fa market value for two of sharks arb years.

          • TK

            Yes, it is about what Shark is worth! Thats the key that so many fail to grasp. No, they dont HAVE to pay him what hes worth due to “control” . . . If they dont want him to stay in Chicago. SHARK decides where he’ll play in 2 years. It wont be in Chicago if they continue this control game. Whats so hard to grasp about that? It would be a HUGE mistake to let him go.

            BTW, the extention . . . Its purpose is a contract/salary BEYOND the 2 years of currently remaining control. Him signing it now, is in itself doing the Cubs a favor by skipping out on FA and a bidding war with the NY, BOS, and LA teams. Yet they want to pay him less than EJax? Hes a man, not a number.

        • Eric

          Jackson was a free agent – Shark is under contract for two more years. You cannot compare the two situations.

          • Brains

            i get it, pay someone elses substandard player a big contract, but insult your own. great job theo. it’s like this guy is deliberately tanking the team to get back at the ricketts now.

            • Eric

              Yes, Jackson had a terrible year in 2013. He has 3 years and $33 million left which is completely reasonable.

              According to ESPN, Jackson’s WAR for 2011-2012 was 4.5. Shark’s WAR for 2012-2013 was 2.6. Jackson was a free agent. Shark is under control for two more years.

              You have no clue what the contract offer was for Shark and if you think 5/55 is insulting (and rumor are it is more than that), you’re nuts.

              • Brains

                if he’s insulted, it’s insulting. it’s a lot of money to guys like us, but if everyone is so invested in baseball being a business instead of a sport, i’ll put it in their terms. this is bad business. theo is doing bad business.

                • Eric

                  What do you think they’ve offered him and what do you think they should pay him? The fact is neither of us know. Nor have I read anywhere that he is insulted. The fact is his performance has not allowed him the luxury of being ‘insulted’.

                  Sorry, but the logic of “If he is insulted than it’s insulting” doesn’t fly.

                  • Brains

                    no one knows. who knows? why bother? someday there will be new players.

        • Brains

          at this point i don’t see why anyone would want to come here. everyone’s putting their entire future on some 20 year olds that might or might not pan out. everyone has this vision that our AAA team will suddenly become the best MLB team ever, just from waiting. it’s the most far fetched silly notion any fan has ever had. some of you are just totally incompetent and it’s feeding this culture of decline.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            The Cubs Triple A team wasn’t that great last year. I don’t think anyone is projecting that group of players will all be in the majors together, or that they will become good, let alone the best team ever.

            Using pointless exaggeration like that as the basis to insult people you disagree with (and yes, “totally incompetenet” is an insult) doesn’t help your arguments at all, either.

            • Brains

              i disagree, i think that’s exactly what people expect. just look at the lineup projections posted here over the past few days after the cubs failed to sign anyone of worth. no exaggeration has even taken place. though i’ll grant you a little bit of a rhetorical flourish to make my point.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                Really? People are posting the Triple A team as lineup projections?

                I guess some people are really excited by an infield of Brad Nelson, Logan Watkins, Donnie Murphy, and Edgar Gonzalez then. I’ve not seen those comments myself, but I guess I can take your word for it.

            • spearman

              How big of a hit will the Yankees take in the draft?
              How many picks will they lose/ gain?

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                I’m not completely caught up so I could be wrong on this, but I believe they’ve lost their first round pick, gained two compensatory picks, but lost one of those. Their first pick will come in the late 30s or early 40s, I think.

                Baseball America has the latest article on this I’ve seen, and although I don’t think it has changed too much since this was posted, as fast as this market is moving I’m not totally certain of that.


                • MightyBear

                  The Yanks gained two picks with the signing of Cano and Granderson but lost those and their first round pick by signing McCann, Ellsbury and Beltran.

  • TK

    I spent 7 years stationed in Japan. Traveled all around the country. Met many, many Japanese people. Ex-wife is Japanese. Daughter is Japanese-American.

    In my experience, Japanese are really, in many ways, very similar to us. They love America and Americans, at least from a distance. The things I found that set them apart most from us, is a sense of duty and discipline regarding their profession, and the influence they have on others. Appearance is important. You can still sense a degree of “the samurai way” in the people. They DO what is best for the whole, even if it means personal sacrifice. They do not question authority — they ACCEPT, no matter how much they dislike or disagree. Making waves is BAD! They do not want to be the one to disappoint, or shame their family/organization. In fact, in 1997, I had a girl who banished herself (from her family and friends) because she thought she was pregnant (unmarried).

    The key is, they are Japanese, not freaking aliens! Some of us seriously need to learn the difference!

    Tanaka will likely make his decision based on very similar considerations as any other FA would . . . money, personal likes, family, and potential to achieve his idea of success — opportunity (assurance of rotation spot), market size vs personality, club situation (competing, rebuilding, etc…), etc… I doubt he will pick LA or Tampa simply bc of Disney. I doubt he’ll pick Seattle bc of the 1000’s of strangers there that happen to be of Japanese descent. I doubt he’ll shy away from NY simply bc the media, unless his personality really clashes, which I doubt, or he probably wouldn’t even be wanting to play here anyways!

    I actually think he might be very interested in the Cubs. Laugh about it, but Al Capone is still very famous in Japan. So is MJ. Japanese are very intrigued by Chicago. The Cubs offer a unique situation whereby he would have a year during which to really get acclimated to MLB and the US with minimal stress, expectations, and negative scrutiny as 2014 is a throw away; however, they are also expected to improve drastically over the following 2 years. Im sure he will be very aware of the FO’s for every team he gets competitive offers from, and he is probably smart enough to like what ours is doing. He can also look forward to a very real chance for play-off baseball, possibly as soon as 2015, but at least in 2016. He’d be playing with a lot of guys his age, instead of a bunch of 50 y/o’s like the Yanks. Its a big city, and if he wins a WS here, he’ll be a hero. As long as the FO doesn’t low-ball him, shows him (on some personal level) that they truly are interested in him, and shows him respect, we have as good a chance as any team to land him.

    And I seriously doubt any team is gonna give him $20m+ when he’s never thrown a single pitch in America. He’s NOT getting paid like Greinke, Lincecum, nor Lee. Get real, folks.

    • TK

      And the salary is why he might accept a shorter contract . . . Similar to other FA’s signing a 1 yr contract to re-establish their value to then really cash-in on the next contract instead of signing a longer contract for less money.

      Id expect a contract with a shorter guaranty and moderate salary with a couple option years which result in bigger annual salaries as they are effected. But NOBODY is giving him some crap like 5/120 with no idea if he’ll make it in MLB. NO WAY!

      • Whiteflag

        Thoughtful the response. However, Tanaka is going to payed very well. Teams have been scouting him like crazy. Look at previous contracts for foreign players. I hope its not 5/120 million, but it isn’t out of the question.

        • TK

          Like Yu Darvish? Avg yearly salary > $10m?

          I guarantee you Tanaka is no Darvish. Compared to Tanaka, Darvish is a God. Compared to Darvish, Tanaka is a HS softball 4th OF. For real. Darvish really was THAT much head and shoulders above the rest of NPB. Tanaka is good, for sure. But its like comparing Ichiro and So Taguchi.

          He may benefit some by the new posting system, and a bidding war, but if any MLB team gets fooled into paying Tanaka more than $15m, and for more than 3 – 4 years guaranteed, that FO needs to be tarred and feathered.

          Anybody recall a guy named Hideki Irabu?

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            Darvish did not have teams negotiating against each other for his contract. Only the Rangers won the posting, and so he could only sign with the Rangers.

            Tanaka will be a very different situation. With multiple teams competing, what it takes to sign him will go up. Initial offers may be in the range of Darvish or even lower, but I don’t think they’ll stay there long.

            That doesn’t mean he’ll quite hit $20+ million, but I think his contract, thanks to the different situation and not the difference in talent, will check in a much larger figure than Darvish.

            • TK

              Essentially, after a $20m bid, he is the same as any other FA. GM’s arent stupid. I think they’ll look at it just that way . . . he’s a FA just the same as Matt Garza. They aren’t gonna just throw away an extra $75m to honor Yu Darvish and in memorium of the old, beloved exting posting system. 10 years ago I could see teams running up ridiculous bids to outdo the other guy. MLB is a different animal now. FO’s, mostly, dont spend so wrecklessly anymore, especially on guys who’ve never thrown a single pitch in US. He could win the Cy Young, or he could end up the long reliever for blow-out games. I cant see the “competitve” bids being beyond the $12m – $14m range. I also cant see teams committing to more than 4, possibly 5, years of guaranteed potential albatrossity. The only way is if a team like the Yanks decides they just want to blow everyone out of the water instead of playing the game with other GM’s . . . to get it over with ASAP. In that situation, like I said . . . Tar & feather.

          • Whiteflag

            Darvish cost the Rangers $112 million over 6 years. While almost half came from the posting, its still huge amount to commit to one player. I am hoping doesn’t end up costing that much for Tanaka; but it wouldn’t surprise me. Contracts are out of control in baseball.

  • bobk

    Shark wont sign a low ball offer. You wouldn’t either. Current offer is something like 5yr 55mil. I think 5yr 70 mil gets it done. I understand the need to flip him if he doesn’t agree to an extension but how about offering a better extension. He is a solid #2 pitcher on most teams around the league. Someone else would be very happy with him. As for a possible trade we better get a very solid return of near MLB ready talent. This trade would leave Travis Wood as our #1 and Jackson #2.

    I think the limit placed on the posting fee and the massive deals being made around the league have put the Cubs in a great position to snag Tanaka. Snagging Tanaka would make a Shark extension all more important. A starting lineup of Tanaka, Shark, Wood, Jackson, Rusin/Arrieta/FA would be one of the better (top 10) starting lineups in all of baseball. I don’t like E.Jax contract but the dude eats up innings and I feel last year was a bit of bad luck. The guy will not lead the national league in losses this year. I like the attention being paid to the bullpen so far. We blew 20 something saves early last year. I understand that we need pitching but what I don’t understand is the need to blow off 2014-2015 as lost causes. Certain moves are there to be made now.

    I feel it is important to introduce prospects to the big leagues to a competitive team. (yasiel puig) We have to remember these kids probably have rarely lost in their lives. They dominated little leagues, high school and college ball. If they are part of a dominating farm system they probably haven’t lost on any level. Now you want to introduce them to a struggling major league team. That’s not the formula.

    Set us up to compete and add the pieces. if we make a few solid moves we could bypass the Brew Crew and compete with the Reds this year. Next year, the added youth and a possible big name could allow us to compete for the division or at least a wildcard. 2016 we would have to be favorites in the division.

    I realize we cant throw money around at the moment but we can makes moves and spend some money. We need to improve. This year we should take a jump in wins and next year we should compete. No more excuses from front office. Make it happen!

    • Eric

      Not sure if your response was to me. I wouldn’t expect Shark to accept a low ball offer but I also don’t think 5/55 (if accurate) is a low ball. I can’t blame him either for turning it down if he really wants to cash in after the 2015 season. If 5/70 would get it done I would hope both sides could agree to it but at this point I don’t think he’s worth any more. The stuff screams #1 or #2 starter but the results certainly haven’t borne that out. He’s still more of a thrower than a pitcher. I’d love to keep him but he may be asking for too much – and no one knows right now what he is asking for.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    What’s realistic for Shark? Cubs effectively want a 3 year extension. In this market would anyone flinch at an annual value of $16m for Shark?

    What’s he going to make in the next two via arbitration eligibility? 5 and 7? Ish?

    That would be 5/60. But you have to pay him a bump for the next 2 to say thanks for not taking this to free agency. At that point 5/70 isn’t too unreasonable.

    How about 10 12 14 16 17 18 for a 6/87 deal?

    • Jason P

      “But you have to pay him for the next 2 to say thanks for not taking this to free agency”

      Since when do teams do that? That would be a bad precedent to set. If they’re paying him market value for those 3 free agent years, the extra $10M shouldn’t be necessary.

      If they want to say thank you for not taking this to free agency, add another year to make it 6/76. 6/87 would be a bit excessive.

  • bobk

    Nope my response wasn’t directed specifically to yours Eric but I guess it applies. Shark is worth more than the 5yr/55 mil. Has he performed as a true #1? No way, but he is a solid #2-3 guy depending on who you have as your frontline starter and that should be the cubs approach to an extension. That 5yr/55mil offer is a bit of a slap in the face considering E.Jax our dumpster #3 this year would make more per year. I like Edwin as a end of the rotation guy and I think he will bounce back a lil bit. His contract was a huge blunder though.

    #1 guys on World Series competitive teams are making approx. 20 mil/yr (Tanaka)
    #2 approx. 10-16mil/yr (Shark)

    If we trade Shark I feel its a set back. We take high end MLB #2 pitcher who is proven,dedicated home grown and in his prime and trade him for non-established high end pitching (prospects). You always have to wonder why the team is bailing on these prospects? Are they going to live up to expectations and when, if ever, are they going to be ready? Seems like a lot to lose because you lowballed him on an extension.

    • Eric

      First, you can’t compare Jackson’s contract to Shark’s potential contract. Jackson was a free agent and Shark is under contract for two more years. Completely different scenarios.

      I strongly disagree that Shark is a #2 until his stuff translates into performance. You’re giving him far too much credit based on the results shown so far. I’m all for extending him but he needs to show more to get the kind of contract he is likely demanding. He was awful the second half this year.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Don’t forget that Samardzija’s last two arbitration years are baked into that offer, and that as such the average annual value will be pushed down.

      That would be the case for any team. No team in baseball, to my knowledge, not the richest most spendy team out there, is going to pay free agent market rates for arbitration years.

    • TOOT

      Problem is Samardzija thinks he’s #1, grade A material which he is NOT.

  • Isaac

    Hey, Kyle…

    “You should never forget,” said one exec, “how many teams don’t want to give up those draft picks.”

  • J.F.Edwards

    I think there are two fronts at work here with the Shark trade and Tanaka signing which allow for several possibilities.

    And four basic outcomes that I can see:
    1. Trade shark, miss out on Tanaka = probably an overwhelmingly good package for shark and too much money for Masahiro.

    2. Don’t trade shark, land Tanaka = two TOR starters paid for, so probably wasn’t a trade package for shark exceeding his contract value AND the Cubs land a FA starter.

    3. Trade shark, land Tanaka = package for Smardz outweighed his signable-contract value, still have a young TOR starter in Tanaka to anchor the rotation while it grows up (plus prospects).

    4. Don’t trade shark, but don’t land Tanaka = still have a good arm in Smardz, maybe trade later is still possible. Money for Tanaka exceeded his potential value to Cubs.

    Basically, what I’m saying here is that I think the Cubs will head to Spring Training with at least one, and possibly two TOR starters. And option 3 is probably the best long-term bet, while option 2 says “chance to win sooner than later (at least for now)”.

    In the end, the best scenario is Tanaka and a team-friendly Shark deal/Shark prospect package. Worst case is Tanaka too pricey, Shark too pricey with no trade partners for him (until the trade deadline?).

    I would love to see Price yank Profar, Bradley or Walker in a deal so a Shark for either Taijuan or Archie doesn’t seem as ridiculous.

    I would also love to see the Cubs get Tanaka on a 6/135ish deal.

    Ultimately, I trust this FO to get the best out of BOTH fronts.

    • Jason P

      I think calling Shark and Tanaka 2 TOR starters is overstating things a bit. Samardzija’s a 3 with still a chance to be more, and Tanaka’s considered a borderline 2/3.

      Is a rotation with Tanaka/Shark as it’s 1-2 punch playoff-caliber? It’s possible, but the rest of the rotation would have to be very good.

      As for the substance of your post, I think 6/135 would be an overpay. Maybe it would be worth it (he’s the rare mid-20’s impact FA starter), but there’s a lot of risk at that price. At some point, though, the Cubs are going to have to overpay for a FA, and who better than a guy you can sign to a 6 year deal and not worry about age-related decline.

  • Rich H

    At this point you must consider the idea of holding Shark till after Price and Tanaka are off the market. If Price does get traded to say the M’s and they throw in their number 1 pitching prospect to get him, then Tanaka signs for around 5/80m (that would make total deal about 5m less than Darvish which is probably close.), we then have a good baseline for a Shark trade.

    Right now the FO is using the Shields and Garza trades as a baseline. Shields is the Quality Top Line with Myers being a almost ready top 5 prospect in baseball and Garza being the low ball quantity Base line with 2 question marks almost ready, one relief prospect in the high minors and a TOR arm with question marks in the low minors.
    What I am saying is that after Price and Tanaka work themselves out the baselines maybe closer to being actual with more teams trying to catch up with whoever gets those 2 guys.

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