masahiro tanakaGood morning early birds – news out of Japan tends to break very early around these parts, given the whole other-side-of-the-world thing.

According to multiple Stateside reports, there are multiple reports in Japan indicating the Rakuten Golden Eagles have decided they will not post 25-year-old ace Masahiro Tanaka after all, and will instead pay him $8 to $12 million in 2014 to try and placate him for preventing what he has publicly said he would like (i.e., the opportunity to come to the States, compete in MLB, and make 10 times that amount). Examples of the Stateside reports are here in the New York Times, or here from Peter Gammons. Everyone else appears to be regurgitating those reports (which are reports of reports without links. Come on, People of the Internet Age.)

I’m not saying they’re not right, but I’m still waiting for someone to actually link to these multiple reports out of Japan so we can see the precise language used. Of course, the layer of translation adds a problem, so, at some level, you’ve just got to take someone’s word for it. Rakuten was pissed about the $20 million maximum put in place in the new MLB/NPB posting agreement, so this may be their middle finger to both leagues. And it’s their choice, after all.

We’ll see what happens this week. I’m not convinced that this saga is over, given all of the twists and turns. Once it’s all settled, and whether he’s coming or not is perfectly clear, we’ll dig into the implications for the market (other free agents, Jeff Samardzija, 2015 plans, etc.).

UPDATE: I’ve been a busybody all morning trying to track down the ACTUAL multiple Japanese reports that say Rakuten has decided not to post Tanaka, and I’m not having any luck. This is why I used the chastising language I used in the first place. I’m not saying the NTY or Gammons or any of the dozens of mainstream outlets that have run with this story are wrong, but they have absolutely proceeded incorrectly in this story. If you’re going to curate/aggregate reports from someone else, note the name of the publication or writer, and provide a link. Bloggers don’t do everything well, but this is one area that we’ve got down. Providing links is fair, ethical, and kind … and it’s also the most helpful thing for an industrious reader who wants to investigate for himself. Now I’m left wondering whether that NYT piece is actually misinterpreting a Japanese report that said Rakuten is going to try an entice Tanaka to stay (which is the only report I can find – and Yaku Night Owl seems to agree). And then everyone else ran with it, because, hey, it’s the NYT, instead of asking these fundamental questions.

Stepping off of my soapbox – we’ll see what happens. I suspect we’ll learn more as the day goes on.

  • Mike Taylor (no relation)

    So, we’ll have to wait until 2016 until Tanaka is a free agent. No posting, game on!

    • cub2014

      best case scenario for the cubs is that posting
      is delayed long enough for sanchez,garza &
      jiminez to sign somewhere and possibly eliminate
      3 of our competition.

  • Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Cubs signed J. Sanchez to a minor league deal. Phew!

  • Cubfan Budman

    Has anybody tried Airborne that is an Ad on this page? If not you should!! It works great it even blocks those nasty kid germs!! For Real

    • Brett

      My wife is obsessed with it. Mostly I just think she likes the taste of the gummy ones.

      • MichiganGoat

        When I’m really sick and can’t take a day off I use the ones that fizz in hot water for some reason it really makes a sore throat and congestion feel better, but as to thier magical powers I’m quite suspect. If it really stopped and healed colds and germs I’m sure science would have proven it and it would be more prescribed by doctors. I think it is more a placebo to most people but if it helps you then enjoy but it’s not a wonder drug.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          Hate to be a downer. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) participated in the class action lawsuit against Airborne. Their senior nutritionist had this to say:

          “There’s no credible evidence that what’s in Airborne can prevent colds or protect you from a germy environment,” said CSPI senior nutritionist David Schardt, who reviewed Airborne’s claims. “Airborne is basically an overpriced, run-of-the-mill vitamin pill that’s been cleverly, but deceptively, marketed.”[9]

          Airborne lost their class-action suit for deceptive advertising. It is a placebo, but placebos have about a 35% success rate over doing nothing at all (people tolerate their symptoms better if they think they are doing something useful for them).

          I think they did a “study” of Airborne’s effectiveness. had 10 people w/ colds, gave them airborne and found only 7 (70%) still had cold symptoms after 10 days…miracle 70% response rate at 10 days (which is how long it takes most colds to resolve….now back to baseball)

          • TWC

            Thank. You.

          • MichiganGoat

            Your not bursting my bubble that is exactly what I suspected and said.

            • Eternal Pessimist

              Yep…I was more adding to the conversation chain and really directing that at Budman…which doesn’t mean that I am not similar affected by placebo at times.

    • Steele

      Great stuff….works for when your sick, feeling low on energy, or when your hungover!

  • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

    In a way, it could be a relief. I was worried about the Cubs ability to get him. Not having a chance to get him is better than trying and failing, I guess.

    • Cubbie in NC

      I second your feelings. It would have been disappointing to not get him.

      Hopefully the kids come up, and Theo feels that the Cubs are closer to competing and it makes him want Tanaka more next year.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        Agreed. I was already in a “pre-disappointment” phase based on the BN comments on our chances to get him, so this will lessen the blow.

  • Matt

    I guess an obvious question is who is Bailey’s agent? I know Boras is repping Scherzer .

    Does this affect willingness to move Shark or cause them to feel that they can capitalize on stronger mkt for arms?

    • Dumpgobbler

      My guess is FA arms start to come off the board now. Garza, Ubaldo and Santana. I’d guess Price gets moved, then Shark. Doubt Sale gets moved.

  • Oswego Chris

    My goosh I have never seen a story go back and forth as much as this

    • Cubfan Budman

      8 Tanaka updates…..

  • Oswego Chris

    I would be more inclined to believe the reports about the Cubs signing Sanchez to a minor league deal…I think this is a great move, he could be a dynamite reliever

  • Fastball

    MLB reporting that Choo turned down Yankees offer of 7 yr $20MM. He has an offer on the table for 10 years.

    • cub2014

      i would love to see choo leading off in 2014
      but if we are still paying him in 2021 that
      dampens my enthusiasm

      • Jay

        Whatever fool feels like giving Choo ten years is welcome to him.

        • Fishin Phil

          This ^

    • Hookers or Cake

      10 years on Choo is crazy? and would suggest an AL team. Texas, Seattle, Detroit?

      • C. Steadman

        Houston has put an offer on the table

      • Coop

        It feels like baseball is testing out the hockey method of contracts – 17 year contracts and such nonsense.

  • cub2014

    sanchez could be a very good lefty reliever
    and he can work out the kinks in AAA.

    hopefully this means a trade of some
    significance is coming.

  • Rodrick

    Who’s Masahiro Tanaka?

    • C. Steadman

      a Japanese folk legend

      • Eternal Pessimist

        Nice one!

  • bbmoney

    Hoorahhh artificial caps on spending!!!

    I like the idea of trying to get the player, instead of the team in Japan, more of the money spent on acquiring a player like this. But a hard cap probably wasn’t the way to go, at least not if the MLB is mostly concerned with having the most talented players in the world playing in the US. If the main concern was giving either everyone or no one a shot, then this works pretty well.

    These reports could certainly all be wrong, but the fact that the new system even makes it an issue is a problem.

    • MichiganGoat

      Would a flat fee + a percentage of the contract be better for everyone? Allow him to negotiate with everyone but the signing team must pay 1M-50M (sliding scale based on the contract) and like 5-10% of his contract goes back to his team. So let’s say Tanaka goes for 100M then his Japanese team gets 50M (posting fee based on the contract) then get between 5-10M from the contract. This way his Japanese team would get a good payday. Of course these numbers are just spitballing here, maybe just a flat % of the contract something like 20-30%. The total money invested in Darvish was about 120M and close to half of that is his posting fee, I can see why Tanakas team is pissed.

      • bbmoney

        I admit, I don’t know what a good answer is. Because I like the idea of the player getting a larger cut than they were before.

        But I know I don’t like the new rule. At least not for the MLB as whole. Yeah…the winning team will pay the NPB team less, but the overall price will be similar and this cap may just slow the flow of really elite NPB talent to the MLB which isn’t a good thing for the MLB.

        I mean we’re probably talking about it being an issue for 1 guy every few years, so it’s really not a crisis, but still, annoying if you want the best players in the world playing in the MLB as quickly as possible. Which I do.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        Yeah, I thought it should be a flat % of the contract with the posting team able to place a floor on the acceptable posting cost. Then the MLB needs to include the total cost of the contract (including the posting) in the teams cap.

  • Fastball

    Ricketts probably said a loud YES. He doesn’t have to pist $20MM and he doesn’t get as much hate from Cubs fans and media for not not getting Tanaka. For Ricketts this is a W. Unless you believe the miracle of Christmas has something to do with baseball.

    How smart was MLB and the Japanese League now. Pretty smart imo. They have a better way to do business. Not that many of those players are good good enough to command the $20MM max posting fee. So more guy’s will get posted. Tanaka is an exception to the new rule his team gets screwed. Sorry but its Japan and that owner doesn’t give a shit what Tanaka wants.

    • fortyonenorth

      “For Ricketts this is a W.”

      W-L is a worthless stat. If you look at Ricketts advanced metrics, they paint an entirely different picture…

  • Dustin S

    With maybe 10+ teams bidding for him it was going to be a major longshot even if he did post. Would be nice, but tough to get too excited when seemingly every team including the big pocket ones vowed to go all out for him.

    I’m kind of more interested at this point in who else in the free agent list is left that they might snag. Not expecting any big names, but wondering about the names that are left in the mid-low budget range that might be possibilities. I took a look at the list this morning, but most of the ones that seemed interesting have an asterisk like expected to re-sign with their current team, or wants to play on the coast. A veteran 3B on a 1-year deal might be interesting just to mentor, for trade bait, and insurance against Olt having continued vision problems. It would also reduce the urge to rush Bryant a bit. That’s all assuming Valbuena is the majority-time starting 2B to add some offense.

  • TK

    Brett is right . . . grain of salt.

    I can’t find anything from any Japanese news source that supports this claim. If this were true, there surely should be plenty of word about it. The most recent reports I can find are from overnight, which simply repeat that Ma-Kun wants to come to MLB and Rakuten wants him to stay. At this point, ordinarily, I’d raise the BS flag on the report; However, I’m hesitant only because specific dollar amounts were cited. Overall, though, I think this is a case of somebody running with a “story” defected by erroneous communication.

    I did, however, find A LOT about D Rodman, and that Nirvana and Kiss have been selected into the R&R HOF.

  • TK

    I also read an interesting prediction that would suggest such action by NPB teams could lead to a massive deflation of the league as the best young Japanese players may elect to follow their dreams and head to MLB directly out of HS/college, bypassing NPB, so they dont have an owner F them like Mikitani is considering doing to Tanaka. That would devestate NPB. It would become a league dominated by old, defficiently talented foreigners, and the mediocre Japanese players that MLB didnt want.

    • Edwin

      So instead of having a Japanese owner screw them over, they can come over to America and get screwed over by the American owners.

  • TommyK

    And there is officially no reason to follow the 2014 Cubs. I understand the whole “renew season tickets so you don’s lose you spot” rational, but other than that I don’t see a single reason to spend a dime on the 2014 Cubs. The team has made it abundantly clear that they don’t think the 2014 Cubs are worth spending money on. Why should a fan spend any money on it? Unless they drastically reduce ticket prices, I don’t know why anyone would buy a single game ticket. You’d get a lot more bang for your buck driving out to Kane County and watching the Cougars. The whole “there’s no glory in finishing .500” logic ignore the fact that there is shame in losing 90 games. With that shame comes a loss of fans at the stadium, a loss of viewers on tv, a loss of listeners on the radio. With that comes a reduction in the amount of money you get for advertising and tv/radio rights. I think they’re making a mistake tanking a third season. Yes the fans will come back when the team is good, but by then you may be locked into bad contracts based on the numbers from your bad years. Maybe you don’t have the revenue to spend the money you want to spend when you feel you’re ready to spend it. Anyway, someone please wake me up when the Cubs decide to field a major league team.

  • Rebuilding

    I think this is just a regurgitation of the story on Tuesday after Tanaka’s press conference where a member of the Eagles FO said they wanted to try to keep him there. That article stated that they were willing to give him more $ this year to get him to stay but were pretty resigned that he wanted to go. I can’t anything new at all

  • Jay

    Brett I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m asking you directly now: Why can Tanaka not just “retire” from Japanese baseball and come over here? What’s stopping him from doing this?

    • Brett

      The agreement between MLB and NPB, and a general sense of professional courtesy. His rights wouldn’t be freely available until after 2015.

    • TK

      Nomo and Soriano did that. NPB was PIZZZZZZED. The former posting agreement banned MLB from signing retired NPB players. That rule still applies in the new agreement.

  • E

    I have to believe at this point, Theo is just shaking his head and chuckling to himself. This is the Cub’s Luck in full force.

    • Edwin

      Wouldn’t it be “unlucky” for any team that wanted Tanaka, though?

    • Mrcub1958

      Nailed it E. Flushed with cash and ready to strike and yet another Cubbie Occurance

  • mdavis

    this actually may help the cubs. the market for shark probably becomes more robust. the yankees will definitely be on the hook for Arods salary next year. but we will see this is like watching forest gump play ping pong.

  • Cheese Chad has a report (in Japanese of course) that Tanaka’s team is setting to offer him a record deal. But it does not state that they for sure aren’t posting.

    • Brett

      That sounds like the one I was able to find. I think the NYT might have really dropped the ball.

      • BenRoethig

        That makes more sense than just deciding to not post him. Rakuten doing so could destroy the posting system (which is why the rest of the league was reported to be wiling to pay the Golden Eagles to post him) with the JPBPA posting for early free agency.

      • MichiganGoat

        The only thing could be that the NYT has an inside source they will not reveal but I find it odd that they haven’t said anything or retracted/edited the story yet.

  • jmc

    I cannot see the benefit to the japanese team by not posting tanaka. the kids just played out as contact in Japan become a free agent in the Japanese teen is out 20 million.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Huh? Tanaka is an elite pitcher in Japan. If you are his current team then you wouldn’t want to get rid of him either. Especially if your consolation prize was only the $20 million posting fee. This is not rocket science.

      • BT

        Yes, who wouldn’t want a completely pissed off pitcher pitching for them for a full year after you screwed him out of literally a hundred million dollars? Then you get to lose him for nothing? As an added bonus you get to recruit other free agents to come to your team based on how you screwed over Tanaka? It’s win-win for Rakuten. It’s not rocket science.

        I’m not buying this story.

        • Pat

          Holding someone to a contract they willingly signed is not “screwing them over”.

    • Edwin

      At the very least, the Japanese team would get to keep the best player in their league for another season. So they’d probably win more games, which means better attendance, which means more money. They could also trade Tanaka to another team, and let that team deal with the decision.

      Basically, if they think that Tanaka has more than $20MM in surplus value to them, they’re probably not going to be inclined to post him.

      • Darth Ivy

        “if they think that Tanaka has more than $20MM in surplus value ”

        exactly. It could come down to making a business decision based on math. Although, that decision might also suggest that they should trade him. $20 million is still a lot of money. I wouldn’t think one player in japan would provide that much revenue, but I’m certainly not an expert on this issue

        • Darth Ivy

          not trade. Post. Sorry.

    • scorecardpaul

      people let’s not forget that there are still baseball teams out there in this world that actually want to try to win!

  • jmc

    team teen autocorrect sorry

  • fortyonenorth

    Unless his team is trying to sign him to a long term deal (e.g. more than two years) it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to give him extra money just to keep him happy. If a disgruntled Tanaka were to underperform it would only be hurting his 2015 or 2016 payday. What do the Eagles have to gain by giving him more money?

  • Blackhawks1963

    No Tanaka to MLB is actually good news for the Cubs. The new posting rules worked to the significant disadvantage of the Cubs. Lets face it, the Cubs had minimal chance of luring Tanaka to Chicago given that any team who submitted the $20 M posting fee was going to have a shot at him. Now we can mercifully move on.

    I fully expect Garza, Santana and Jimeniz to move real quick now. Which may open up the chances to trade Samardzija. Although I don’t think Samardzija is going to be traded for now. Maybe midseason? We shall see.

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    If I was Tanaka’s team in Japan, I’d be super pissed about the $20 million cap, considering how much Darvish’s team got. $30M might have been more reasonable.

    Yes, Tanaka has said he wants to move on, but they have to consider what it will do to their organization and fan base.

  • Darth Ivy

    While I would love to see Tanaka post this year out of pure love of the game and to see what he can do, it might increase the Cubs chances to get him if it comes next year, right?

    Speaking of excitement about international players, this just reminds me that all of us in chicago will get to watch Abreu play for the sox on a regular basis. That’s going to be fun

  • cub2014

    I read that around 50% of players who
    make AA all-star status. Have some success
    at the major league level (able to reach
    arbitration, darwin barney fits that criteria)

    So of Baez,Villanueva,Hendricks,Szczur &
    Alcantera we can expect 2 or 3 to at least
    reach the level of success of Darwin Barney.

    Thats why I think prospects are better served
    as trade bait. I am almost certain that our FO
    understands this very minimal rate of success
    and its one of the reasons they are into stock

    One of the reasons why I am for bringing in
    some major league players is, Baez,Bryant,
    Edwards & Alcantera we wont really know
    what we have until after 2015 or 2016. I really
    am not that fired up about waiting that long.

    • cub2014

      on top of that only about half of the
      rookies of the year have a productive
      career into their 3,4,5 seasons.

      so please FO the Cubs need some big
      league players. I hope the FO is right
      and I am wrong but I guess time will tell.

  • T-Bone

    MLB Nework is running with the story. Same premise though: multiple reports… Highest salary ever in NPB… Garza’s phone ringing off tqhe hook.

    • baldtaxguy

      Who are the likely suitors for Garza?

  • kgd

    Auto-translators don’t do well when it comes to Japanese to English, but the NYT article referenced this newspaper in their article. I’m not sure if it’s the exact article they’re talking about, but it was posted today.