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.

  • Rebuilding

    Selfishly, next year prob works better for the Cubs with respect to Tanaka. Soriano is off the books and our payroll will be silly low, some of the kids will be up and momentum will be building. With that said, I don’t think there is much of a chance he’s not posted for all of the reasons I’ve talked about before

  • jeff feichtl

    That’s actually great news for the Cubs if he’s not cause that puts Sharks trade value even higher. Trade scenerio 1- Cubs/Jays Shark and Barney for Stroman or Sanchez (Theo needs to realize he ain’t getting both) Nolin, A.J Jimenez and either Sierra or Gose. Trade Scenerio 2- Cubs/Braves- Shark and Barney for Teheran, Wood, Uggla and Betancourt and id be Happy! I’m ready for all the back lash! Lol

    • josh ruiter

      Jeff, your trade proposals along with your opening statement are somewhat contradictory. You are saying its good news b/c Shark’s value escalates and simultaneously are saying that his improved value is less than what was already being discussed.

      • Darth Ivy

        I’m not seeing how it’s contradictory for jeff as an individual. It could be contradictory for the collective BN community, but everything we write is contradictory in that collective sense

      • AdamAE24

        I don’t see how those are contradictory. On one hand, less pitchers available theoretically makes one that is available more valuable (Not sure I totally agree with this sentiment) and the asking price we have set for Samardzija is unreasonable (I agree with that, I don’t think he is that good, lots of guys have great stuff but never fully put it together.)

      • jeff feichtl

        What I’m saying is what a few others have already said- Theo has put Sharks trade value way to high- He wants 2 almost ready MLB arms for a guy who he won’t pay ace like money for. If Theo sees him as being an ace he’s got to pay him like one but obviously he doesn’t if he offered him 11million a yr. So yes Theo needs to come down with his demands cause these other teams aren’t going for it. We have the space to take on Uggla’s contract and help out Atlanta but they would have to give us more in return. In Toronto you aren’t going to get their #1 and 2 prospects for a #3 pitcher so he needs to pick either Sanchez (2yrs away) or Stroman (could be up this yr) and lower tier guys. Only way he trades Shark. Id hate to see him keep him til trade deadline and then he gets hurt (aka Garza) if there’s a time to trade him its now

        • jkppkj

          I love how the Cubs have the space to take on Uggla’s shit contract but not space to go out and spend on good players.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      Uggla is very bad…I don’t think we should try to take him off the Braves hand (unless this helps get us better prospects). We have no need for him and better options already and can spend his salary better on other things.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        …but I agree with you, this may be a very good thing for the Cubs and their rebuild and
        Shark’s trade value.

  • Spoda17

    All I’m seeing is that they are trying to get him to stay by offering him 8-14 million next year. I’m not seeing they “won’t” post him. But I can’t find much on it actually…

    All in all, I just don’t think the Cubs will get him anyway.

    • Rebuilding

      Really doesn’t make much sense for him to stay in Japan for $10 million. If his arm falls off he’s out $100 million + guaranteed. I respect what the Eagles are trying to do and if the situation were reversed I would want the Cubs to try as well, but ultimately there is just too much money for him over here. I wouldn’t be surprised if the rumors last week are true and the NPB kicks in $10 mil or so to them to post

  • jmc

    my thinking was that if tanaka plays out his contract in Japan he can become a free agent and the Japanese team gets no compensation. 20 million is a lot of tickets

    • Edwin

      I don’t think it’s a $20MM or nothing transaction for them. It’s $20MM versus whatever benefit the team gets from keeping him (having the best player in the league). It’s possible that that benefit is greater than $20MM.

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  • fortyonenorth

    General question on the posting system: Does the Japanese team need a player’s consent or can they post at-will, as long as they have team control?

    • bbmoney

      Well the player could just not negotiate with MLB teams and refuse to sign with them if he didn’t want to go.

      So I guess I’m not sure. But I don’t think it matters.

  • CubChymyst

    NYT is probably hoping he doesn’t get posted this year with the Yankees trying to get their payroll under the cap this year. If he waits till next year then the Yankees can go all in and not worry about the salary cap.

  • woody

    You would have to believe that the New York Times would not publish that without vetting the source.

  • DarthHater

    I make it a point never to rely on the NYT for sports-related news.

  • cavemancubbie

    In my humble opinion, NY Times reporting quality, is not the same as some 15-20 years ago. Still remember that fraud front page picture of an IDF soldier standing over a supposed bleeding moslem, who was in actually a yeshiva student from Chicago.

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    This is when all the owners get together an tell them not to try a push mlb around he gets posted or none of them do. Wait til they all necome fa

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    This could be great for us …the market for shark will go up especially if we ourselves took a starter off the boards..arroyo or garza perhapps

  • Michael

    I wouldn’t blame him for taking even half of what he would make here to stay there. He is a god over there is married to pop start. They would definitely not have that kind of following over here. He would be popular with his fans but not even close to the degree that he is in his home country.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    According to this article

    the kind of salary being discussed above would be almost unthinkable in Japan. Japanese baseball seems to operate with collusion with regard to player salaries. They don’t go over 500 ye and big salaries tend to go to veterans. Paying Tanaka t 8 to 12 million dollars would be way over those numbers. It could be (and I have wondered for several days now) that if
    the new posting system could force more of a free market in Japan for Japanese players.

  • http://BN Sacko

    I’ve seen a comment here before saying if he broke his contract and got sued he would still be ahead with what he would make in the States. That’s not an option?

    • bbmoney

      I get the feeling the MLB would just void any contract he signed stateside if he did that and punish the team that tried to help him circumvent the rules by signing him. I can’t prove that. I just think they wouldn’t allow it if they want to continue doing business and getting players from the NPB.

      The MLB just went through this whole process to set the rules, it’s in their interest to make sure they are followed.

      • http://BN Sacko

        sounds reasonable.

        • bbmoney

          Sure and I could be wrong there.

          I know a couple players ‘retired’ from the NPB to head to the MLB in the past….but I think it’s a different era and that wouldn’t be tolerated anymore.

  • TK

    MUST READ ! ! ! ! !

    I emailed that NYT reporter this am. Called him out, suggested it was a ploy to get recognized. He responded with his sources:

    “Hochi Yomiuri and Sponichi were two of the Web sites I read, under the headlines:
    マー君個人の年俸は高騰必至 6年総額72億円以上か

    I couldnt find ANY definitive word on these sites. Just speculation. Then I found . . .

    [12/19/2013] Rakuten Eagles coud offer Masahiro Tanaka 800 million yen for 2014
    by Gen on Dec.19, 2013 @ 4:33 pm, under NPB
    Tags: Masahiro Tanaka, Rakuten Eagles
    According to a report by Sports Hochi, the Rakuten Eagles could offer Masahiro Tanaka 800 million yen for the 2014 season. Tanaka signed a three-year deal that was an estimated total 1.2 billion yen before the start of the past season. The 800 million yen would be double the amount of the base salary he agreed to and would easily make him the highest paid Japanese pitcher in NPB history (the current record of 650 million yen was set by Kazuhiro Sasaki in 2004 and 2005).
    Sports Hochi feels the next time the two sides meet, the Eagles will tell Tanaka that they are not planning to post him. Their salary offer for the 2014 season would come after that.
    Source: Sports Hochi 12/19/2013
    According to Tokyo Sports, someone with the Rakuten Eagles received an self-introductory e-mail from Scott Boras, which could indicated an interest in Tanaka.
    Source: Tokyo Sports 12/19/2013
    [UPDATE @ 7:58pm]
    Tanaka worked out at Kleenex Stadium today. He told reporters that he had not heard back from the Eagles yet.
    Source: Sports Hochi 12/19/2013
    [UPDATE @ 11:35pm]
    Rakuten Eagles’ President Yozo Tachibana spoke to reporters in Sendai today and said that they were still undecided about what to do and that internal discussions were ongoing.
    FWIW: when reporters asked Tanaka if he started using MLB baseballs during workouts, he replied, “I will begin using them when it is decided [I can go].”
    Source: Sponichi 12/19/2013

    Sounds like they are doing all they can “convince him to stay” but that no decision has been made. In fact, one of those sources seemed to say EXACTLY that as best as I can tell. I could be wrong, but

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