masahiro tanakaBig news coming out of the MLB and NPB talks regarding their lapsed agreement to allow Japanese players to come over to the States – well, it’s big news in that it’s important, not that it’s a surprise. The two sides today announced a new agreement that will reportedly allow Japanese teams to make their players available to MLB teams for a posting price, which they will set, up to a maximum of $20 million. Should multiple teams offer that maximum price on a given player, each such team will be permitted to negotiate with the player. Only the team signing the player will actually be required to pay the posting price, thus, on the biggest stars, you will see a large number of MLB teams offering the posting fee.

More importantly in the near-term, a report out of Japan (via Dylan Hernandez) says that 25-year-old ace Masahiro Tanaka will be permitted to head to the United States under the new system. Take the report with a grain of salt, given the inherent translation issues and our own inability to determine its credibility, but it’s the first local report that explicitly says Tanaka will be posted.

Assuming he is made available – an assumption I’ve been making since day one – the Chicago Cubs are expected to be involved in the process. How “involved” is “involved” is a matter of some debate, though even today, Buster Olney reports that the buzz among executives around baseball is that the Cubs are “poised to try to strike big on Tanaka.”

Given that Tanaka is expected to command a nine-figure contract, the question ultimately will not be whether the Cubs want Tanaka – assuming their scouts like him, he certainly fits The Plan to a T – it is instead whether the necessary money will be there.

We’ll see.

  • Cerambam

    Was this just to shut me up for my last tweet hahah.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I feel bad saying this but its Tanaka or offseason bust for cubs… He’s the only that makes sense for the Cubs and the only player that would make sense to over pay for

    • cms0101

      For me it was Girardi, Tanaka, or bust…

  • waffle

    there is no reason this team should be “broke”. I would have to think we are in the top 25% or so in revenue (someone can correct me if wrong) with the very real likelihood of near term increases.

    If we want him I have to think we could play with the big boys $$$$ wise. TBD

  • Borocks

    I got a quarter that we get him…

  • C. Steadman

    and so it begins!!! all aboard the Tanaka train…hopeful destination Wrigley Field with a several month stop in Mesa, AZ

  • Edward

    Any guesses on what he signs for?

  • Jed

    If Kenta Maeda is also posted, would the Cubs pursue both?

    • Jason P

      I would guess they’ll only pursue Maeda if they don’t get Tanaka. It sounds like Maeda is a 4th or 5th starter with low ceiling/high floor, and the Cubs already have a guy in Jake Arrieta with a 5th starter floor but with better upside. A Tanaka/Samardzija/Wood/Jackson/Arrieta rotation would probably be the best the Cubs have had since 2008.

    • Gcheezpuff

      It might be a solid stratagey to get Tanaka. I don’t know if they know each other but if I was going to go work in another country, I’d be a lot happier if there was someone there that spoke the same language as me. I know they’ll assign him a translator, but not the same as hanging with a teammate.

  • TulaneCubs

    To me, I think there’s no question that the front office will have the money to sign him. The question is going to be whether they still see value signing him for the contract that he’s going to command. Someone is going to give Tanaka a contract commensurate with a #2 starting pitcher. If the Cubs don’t project him as a #2, then they probably won’t be willing to meet his price.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Prediction on Cub offer to Tanaka, 5 years at $88 million dollars.

    • Jon

      yeah, that wont get it done.

      • miggy80

        Over 17 million a year wouldn’t get it done?!?

        • Jon

          Nope, not even close.

        • TulaneCubs

          I’ll guess the winning bid is in the ballpark of 6 years, $120M.

        • mdavis

          nah, i think he’s going to command $100 mil at least.

        • Jon

          Darvish cost 107 million total(51 posting fee, 56 actual contract), but once the Rangers “won” the bid, they were negotiating with no one else on the deal.

          You are looking at around 5/100 on the deal alone + the posting fee.

          • miggy80

            Who is his agent Boras? Tim Lincecum just signed two years $35 million. He has a no-hitter and 2 Cy Young awards. I just don’t see him getting over 17 million a year for 5 years. If that is the cost I’m not sure that it’s worth it.

            • Jon

              “He has a no-hitter and 2 Cy Young awards”

              Really? It’s called paying for future performance, not past performance.

            • Bluz Cluz

              Miggy, you are absolutely right., THere is no way he commands anything much more then 17 per. 17 per would be an overpay.

              • Jon

                I’m going to laugh when you are both proved horribly wrong. It’s going to be crazy, in the mid 20’s per year not including the posting fee.

                Bet on that.

  • Patrick W.

    My guess at the timeline: Tanaka gets posted on Thursday this week. Bids end Jan 2. Tanaka signs Jan 15th.

  • Frank

    I’ll chip in $20.

    • X The Cubs Fan

      I got $5 on it. Plus, it will probably pay for itself in jersey sales.

  • Voice of Reason

    There are many other teams looking for a top of the line starter, which Tanaka is supposed to be. There are also teams that need a top of the line starter with deep pockets and a strong desire to win in 2014.

    The Cubs, on the other hand, could certainly use a top of the line starter, but are not showing any desire what so ever to compete in 2014! Remember, the front office has said that they will not spend big money this off season!

    My guess is he’ll be a Yankee on Opening Day 2014.

    • Norm

      They didn’t exactly say they will not spend big money this off season.
      And they choose their words carefully.

      • mdavis

        true. and the fact they havent dropped really any money, puts them in a different position then all these other teams that haven’t been waiting on the market. never know, itll be interesting if nothing else

    • Xavier Rice

      Yankees have like 1 more signing until they’re over the cap, even without A-Rod.

      • X The Cubs Fan

        Oops. That’s my legal name.

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    8Yr 130

    • Fishin Phil

      I don’t think he will want that many years. I’m guessing he wants 6 years so that he can have a shot at one more big payday.

    • mdavis

      eh, the only reason i think he might only ask for 5-6 years, is that puts him at free agency at age 30-31 and can get another massive payday

  • Rich

    So if 10 teams post 20 million, then all the teams get a chance to negotiate?
    Then why does he choose the Cubs? just for $$$?

    I would assume that the Yankees will pony up a ton too…

    • Norm

      Nobody has to ‘post’ any more. It’s open season to negotiate with any team he wants to.

      • mdavis

        no you still have to post 20 mil. but only the team he signs with pays it.

  • Bluz Cluz

    Once again, why are people asking whether the Cubs have money for this or that. They are one of the highest grossing teams in baseball, they can easily afford it.

  • waffle

    5/100? Nice and simple

  • Brian Peters

    I wouldn’t go any longer than 6 years

  • ClevelandCubsFan
    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Interestingly, the Eagles say that retaining Tanaka is a priority for them, whatever that means. If accurate, I’m guessing it means to see if Tanaka is amenable to staying. (Not being sure how the system works, maybe they’d increase his salary to keep him happy in Japan?) If he can be persuaded to be content, they’ll keep him. If he’s not, it’s in everyone’s best interest, I assume, to let him go.

  • Jono

    Some team that is closer to winning will be willing to overpay to the point of sillyness. I hope they get him, but im not keeping my hopes up

  • Rich

    someone help with my question?

    so if every MLB team gives 20 MILLION ,
    then he is basically a free agent…for anyone to negotiate with?

    So if the Cubs said 10 years 250 million and the Yankees said 10 years 225

    where are you signing ?

    • Cizzle

      Yes, he would be, but only 1 team would pay the $20M.

      If I were him, I’d look for a 5-6 $120-150M contract and get another big pay day after the TV revenues jack up all the prices again. In 5 years, $25M/year might be the “new norm” like apparently $13-15M is now.

    • Norm

      Once posted, he IS a free agent and can negotiate with anybody.
      The teams go into negotiations knowing that they will also have to pay Rakuten $20M if they get him.

      • Scotti

        He can only negotiate with the teams that post twenty million.

        • Cizzle

          The above is based on Rich’s presumption that “if every MLB team gives 20 MILLION”…

    • Bluz Cluz

      Pitchers dont get 10 year deals. It has never happen. Maybe Kershaw, but he would be the first. Plus you price tag is quite a bit high. I’m thinking 6yr/$100 mil.

  • Eric

    The Cubs absolutely have the money. The question comes down to what the Cubs value him at and what the competing offers are.

    One of the main questions is exactly where the Yankees stand in terms of the luxury tax. I’d also be more concerned about Seattle than the Dodgers.

  • CubsFanSaxMan

    Who wouldn’t want to play in “the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field?” That alone is worth a discount!

  • Arod773

    The cubs can offer him somthing that no other team can. The chance to be on the first cubs team to win a world series. Immortality

    • Edwin

      I don’t think players really care what team they win a world series on.

  • Patrick W.

    I still have a suspicion Signing Bonuses would be treated as spending the same way the Posting Fee might be, which means they are one time expenditures and not “payroll” restricted.
    Signing Bonus $15

    2014 $10
    2015 $15
    2016 $18
    2017 $20
    2018 $22
    2019 $24


    • Bluz Cluz

      Entirely to much. Tanaka will get 6yr/100. With is posting fee, that will make a 6yr/120 mil guy.

    • Pat

      If you mean not payroll restricted in terms of the salary cap/luxury tax, I believe they are averaged as to AAV and spread out over the deal. If you mean they don’t count against a team payroll, I.e. you have 100 million to spend, then they absolutely count.

      • Patrick W.

        No, I mean the Cubs can only spend a specific percentage of revenues on payroll due to terms of the financing but special one time expenditures don’t count. That’s the rumor anyway. I wonder if signing bonuses are considered special one time expenditures. Might explain why Edwin Jackson got @15% of his contract in signing bonus.

  • woody

    Knowing that there will be no shortage of teams willing to pony up the 20 million it will basically be Tanaka’s choice where he wants to be. A factor that came to light during the Cano negotiations was the State taxes in each respective State. Washington has no State income tax and New York has one of the highest in the country. It is conceivable that Tanaka could accept a lower bid from the Mariners because of the lack of State taxes. With the choice being his and so many teams involved I think the Cubs would have to overwhelm him with a bid to get him to come to Chicago.

  • Randy

    Cubs will make a small play to say ( Hey we tried)….
    Not happening when they are only going after scrap heaps to fill out a 100 loss roster.

    • Eric

      Or they are only going after scrap heaps to save $ to make a sizable offer to Tanaka.

  • Cheese Chad


  • Jon

    I think the Cubs will offer 5/125 plus the posting fee. For me personally, 25 per year is the breaking point IMO.

  • Bluz Cluz

    Man, you guys are crazy if yall think Tanaka will get 6yrs/120-150 mil, or what ever other number is being thrown around. I predicting 6yrs/100 + 20 mil post fee, and even that is an overpay. Tanaka is not worth David price money. I’m not even sure he’s better than Shark, yet ya’ll wanna jump to give him top 5 pitcher in the game money.

    • Jon

      Tanaka is younger and won’t cost prospects to acquire and also the posting fee doesn’t count against the cap, for the tax payers. That’s the attraction.

      I’ll gladly overpay if it means I don’t have to clean out the top 1/2 of my farm system.

      • Fishin Phil

        Didya hear that Mr. Ricketts?? Jon says he’s paying!


      • Bluz Cluz

        No way. Teams set the value of players on performance. Not age. Age only makes it easier to give a player an extra year or not. Tanaka will not be over paid simple because he is only 25. His value is maxed out at 20 mil per. Thats on te high end. that gives 6yr/120 mil. Tanaka will be responsible for the posting fee, not the team. So that knocks his value down to 6yrs/100.

        • Jon

          Smart GM’s set the value of players on expected future performance. And a major driver of that is age.

          • Bluz Cluz

            I disagree about age. A GM will determine that players value, and determine if they think he will improve, wihich will drive up his value, or decline, which will drive down his value. Age, inadvertantly has something to do with the projection, yes. But no GM is going to say we project his future performance at 15 mil per, but since he is only 25, let’s give him 20 mil. His prejected future performance will set his value, and that value is no where near 25 mil per, not even in this enviroment. I pushed for Tanaka harder than anyone here, but if his value is 25 per, I hope the Cubs tell him to kiss their ass.

        • Edwin

          Age can make a difference when projecting future performance, though. Paying for age 25-31 seasons on a 7 year deal is much different than paying for age 27-33 seasons. I think that’s what people mean when they talk about his age being a factor.

        • Scotti

          Tanaka will NOT pay the posting fee. Darvish had only one team to negotiate with. Tanaka has numerous.

          • Bluz Cluz

            Tanaka will most certainly be responsible for the posting fee. Just Darvish was responsible for his posting fee. Every GM will give him a max value that they will not exceed. If that value is 6yrs/120 mil, then that GM will bow out at 6yrs/100 mil. If that value is 6yrs/150mil, then that GM will bow out at 6yrs/130 mil. Either way you look at it, that posting fee is coming out of Tanaka’s pocket.

      • Bluz Cluz

        Jon, you really are crazy if you think this guy is going to get 25 mil a year, on top of the team paying his posting fee. Please tell me, what players in MLB are making 25 mil per, and what makes this guy better then them all that he can command to be basicly to be the highest paid player in baseball, minus ARod. 25 mil per would put him on Kershaw level. He is not even close to Kershaw.

        • Jon

          Probably every team in baseball is kicking themselves for not giving up 100 million for Yu, who is one of the biggest bargains of the game now. Now, he may not be as good as Yu, but it’s pretty close from what I hear.

          This isn’t a blind auction, it’s an open one, and the nature of the game, no elite FA’s come available at 25 anymore it just doesn’t happen. I’d offer 25 per year for him and not bat an eye. Cause at the end of the day, Baez, Bryant, and Almora will still be in my farm system.

        • MichiganGoat

          I wish I could agree with you but this new posting system just made it necessary to over pay for him if you want him. Every major market team (and a few mid market teams) will offer the 20M posting and be willing to offer a huge contract. The price will get to the point that if we want h we will have to pay huge for him. No he’s not Kershaw but he’s going to get a 150M contract, because the competition for him will cost the winner a huge check. It might be wrong but it’s going to happen.

          • Bluz Cluz

            MG, if he can get that much, I hope the Cubs dont even waste their time bidding. I want the guy bad,m but not for anything north 120 mil, I don’t care if he would stay 25 forever. He is not Yu. He prejects as a 2/3, not an ace. I would rather keep shark and give him a nice extension.

            • Jon

              The Cubs have the $$$. There is no salary cap in baseball. They could pay both Tananka and Shark if they wanted to. What would un-nearve you so bad if they overpaid say…6-7 million per year on this guy?

              The only thing that would get me if he was a total wash like Dice-K.

            • MichiganGoat

              Well be prepared to be shocked, he might even get a long term backloaded deal something like 8 years 180. This will be a crazy free for all and the winner get a great arm and a horrible contract.

    • Scotti

      Bluz, he’s the best free agent on the market in a year where the teams have been given funny money from the new TV deal. That’s just how it goes. His price will be bid up in a serious way.

  • Fastball

    I think he gets $20MM a year for 5 with an option for a 6th. Pay him and forget about it. The top talent cost big money these days. Folks have to get over that. in 3 years that $20MM will be chump change the way salaries sky rocket in this game. I say get him and the other kid that is going to post as well. Sign em both. Solve a boat load of problems in a hurry. We can stop worrying about sign and flips like Baker. Ricketts needs to pony up the $$. Then go out and sign Choo to a nice swoop in deal. Then you got all these Japanese guys happy in the dugout and they got guys to hang with. That would be a big deal for all of them culturally speaking coming to the US. We can act like the Dodgers just for a little while Ricketts. It only hurts for a little while then you get used to the payments. My wife has been doing that to me for 32 years.

    • Sandberg

      Choo is Korean

      • TWC

        This mistake — that happens over and over again — is really revolting. Those who make it can hem and haw about it, but it just comes down to ignorance.